HUNTINGDON Town manager Ricky Marheineke was full of praise for Eynesbury Rovers after the first of the Huntingdonshire clubs’ United Counties League double-header on Saturday.

The match - this one played at Eynesbury's Alfred Hall Memorial ground - ended in a 2-2 draw, despite high fliers Huntingdon taking an early 2-0 lead. But Marheineke said: "I wasn't too unhappy about the result as Eynesbury came back really well.

"It was obviously disappointing to go 2-0 up and then see the way it panned out but they played a formation that we struggled to cope with and they played really well."

Both the home side's Lee Bassett and Huntingdon's Dan Drane had early chances before Declan Rodgers rounded Dan Beall to give the visitors' a ninth-minute lead. And just two minutes later Huntingdon were 2-0 up after Eynesbury's young goalkeeper Beall had only found Drane with a clearance - and Drane had found the net.

"It could have gone either way at that stage," said the Eynesbury manager Paul Dodson. "But we showed some real character and dug in.

"It was the first time I have been able to field an unchanged side this season and they had an understanding of what they had to do."

Former Rovers goalkeeper Dave Beeny was forced to palm away a Bassett shot as Eynesbury rallied, and Tom Coles worked his way into the penalty area but shot off target.

In the 26th minute Ben Cole put the ball into the six yard box but it was hacked clear, and just two minutes later David Fisk pulled the ball back from the goalline only for Cole's shot to be cleared as well.

The goal that Eynesbury had been threatening came in the 34th minute when Cole crossed the ball into the centre from the right wing and Bassett ran onto it, finding the net with a low drive.

Tom Coles headed a David Fisk free kick over the bar while Charlie Bowen headed wide from a corner kick for the visitors. Beeny was forced to stop further Eynesbury chances after the break while Bowen almost gave the visitors a 3-1 lead with Robert Ducket on hand to clear the ball just before it crossed the line.

Just after the hour mark Coles got Eynesbury's equaliser with a low shot from inside the penalty area.

Three minutes later the home side could have taken the lead when Ducket fed Bassett and Eynesbury's leading goalscorer cut inside - but his shot was straight at Beeny.

"I thought we finished the game stronger," said Dobson, who now has to prepare his side for another crack at the Croms: the two sides will meet again at Jubilee Park this Saturday, something that the Eynesbury manager finds a little strange.

"It's rubbish really," he told The Hunts Post. "We have just had all of those games over Christmas when we could have played a derby; then we get these two games on the trot."

With the two points dropped, Huntingdon slipped from first to second in the Division One table and were replaced at the top by Harborough Town, who beat Sileby Rangers 2-1 in Northampton.

But, as Marheineke pointed out: "There's along way to go yet."