Corinthian-Casuals had to come from behind twice to salvage a draw at playoff-contenders Sittingbourne in the Bostik League South on Saturday.

Reyon Dillon and Gabriel Odunaike’s equalisers were enough to keep James Bracken’s side in the automatic promotion spots but they had to work hard for it against a physically-imposing Bourne side.

Casuals spluttered and most advancements forward were easily matched by a resolute home side’s defence. 6’7” Lex Allan lapped up most of the aerial threat. Neither side created anything to trouble the highlight reel. Reyon Dillon flashed a shot wide of the mark in a rare breakthrough.

Nearing half time, Kevant Serbony clattered into John Coker and there was no hesitation in a spot-kick being awarded. Coker stepped up and sent Danny Bracken the wrong way to give the home side the lead.

However, Sittingbourne were pegged back on the stroke of half time when Dillon shrugged off several challenges before shooting low into the bottom corner to give scoreline parity. Jack Strange had a well placed header held by keeper Jordan Carey following a floated free kick from Ben Cheklit.

The second half saw Casuals come out of their shell and look more dangerous. But possession counts for nothing as they fell behind once again. Kane Rowland tapping in from close range from a Kane Phillip cross. It looked as though the Amateur’s defence had switched off at a vital moment.

The game wasn’t done. Casuals forced more pressure and the excellent Carey was equal to most of it. Cheklit’s curling shot was well saved and the custodian turned an Odunaike shot around his post. However, the resulting corner wasn’t sufficiently cleared and Odunaike pounced, forcing the ball home from ten yards, much to the jubilation of his teammates.

The result was only Casuals third draw in the whole season and second in the league. It leaves Bracken’s side level on points with leaders Lewes but the chasing pack behind, closing in.

“That for me was a point gained today what with going behind twice and coming back”, said Bracken after the match.

“At the end, we had chances to nick it and win but today wasn’t great from us.”

“They play a very direct style and with three of our most regular back four missing, coming to a side that were flying at the start of the season, and have players returning, it was always going to be a tough game.”

“I don’t think the referee helped our cause in the slightest. The penalty for me is a little bit soft, but beyond that, we weren’t given a fair shout across the whole game. Some of the incidents that happened need to be looked at again.”

“But the boys carried on going. Showed character again coming from behind twice. If you’re going to win leagues which we’re going to try and do, then you need to show that character in these moments.”

Casuals face Chipstead in the league on Saturday.