CONNOR DEARDS netted an 89th minute equaliser to rescue a point for Alvechurch in a 1-1 draw at home to lowly Loughborough University on Saturday.
The Lye Meadow side deserved at least a share of the spoils for their efforts but it looked as though they were going to be frustrated until Deards headed home from close range from Aaron Roberts’ fine cross to the far post.
There was still time for the hosts to grab a winner but, despite a frantic finale in which Deards fired a free kick straight at the wall, Lee Knight’s side had to settle for a point.
Toby Checketts and Deards both went close to putting Alvechurch ahead early on before the visitors thought they had taken a 13th minute lead when Read beat his marker on the right before crossing for Bridge to turn in past Shaun Edwards, but the effort was disallowed for offside.
Jesse Race was then forced into making a superb challenge to thwart Loughborough striker Ben Ward when he looked set to burst clear on goal and two minutes later on the half hour mark Ward fired against the bar with Edwards well beaten.
Alvechurch rallied and Reis Woolley and Deards both saw shots saved by visiting keeper Halstead, but there were no goals before the break.
The opening exchanges of the second half saw Alvechurch striker Gareth Evans fire over the bar and then fire straight at the keeper, before the hosts introduced the pace of Dimitri Dunkley and Daniel Williams from the bench in place of Elliot Nash and Woolley.
The pair had an immediate impact and Dunkley fired wide as the visitors were pushed back, but Loughborough took the lead against the run of play in the 71st minute when Ward latched on to a long ball and fired into the corner of the net.
Alvechurch came within a whisker of levelling in the 80th minute when James Cosgrave’s free kick was met by Checketts but his header rebounded off the post before the danger was cleared.
The visitors then missed a fine chance to seal maximum points in the 84th minute when midfielder Herbert shot wide from a great position.
In a dramatic finale Deards’ 86th minute hit the post before Evans’ strike from the rebound hit the bar, but a deserved equaliser finally arrived three minutes later via the persistent Deards.
Alvechurch, who are 13th and saw Tuesday’s match at home to Heath Hayes postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, are at home to bottom placed Tipton Town on Saturday (3pm) before visiting Coventry Sphinx on Easter Monday (3pm).