A stoppage-time equaliser cost Barton Rovers victory in an entertaining Southern League Central Division One clash at Thame United on Saturday.
Rovers welcomed left-back and skipper Garry Jones back, but just six minutes in, Barton keeper Kyle Forster almost handed the hosts the lead when his clearance fell to Thame left-winger Ryan Blake.
Lewis Thomas headed Blake’s effort off the line, but from the resulting corner, Blake found James Essex to bullet home a header.
As both sides attacked with real intent, Victor Osobu forced in-form home keeper Fred Chapman to turn his shot away after a piercing run into the Thame box.
But Rovers almost fell further behind when Essex failed to find the target from another Blake corner.
Osubu hit a free-kick straight at Chapman, and minutes later a last-ditch tackle denied Connor Vincent going clean through on goal.
Rovers were finally rewarded after 20 minutes when danger-man Osobu created space just inside the box and shot home left-footed.
Thame went mighty close to going ahead again when Charlie Smith headed a goalbound header off the line.
Six minutes from half-time Tshikuna looked to have put Rovers ahead with a top-corner special, but Chapman clawed it over his bar in a non-stop first-half.
Rovers were quicker into their stride in the second half, with the pressure telling on Thame with two quick yellow cards for Thomas Ashworth and Jordan Balogun for late tackles.
Osobu carved a hole for himself in Thame’s defence but his attempt to waltz round the Thame keeper failed and a golden chance went begging.
There was a scare for Rovers when Dan West’s free-kick clattered Forster’s bar, while chances came and went for Gregory Hackett and Blake as both teams threatened on the break.
A Thame effort from a corner was again headed off the line before Osobu’s strong penalty claim was refused.
But Rovers hit the front in the 74th minute when it seemed Thame centre-back got the last touch to a Furlong left-wing cross which the assistant deemed to have crossed the line.
With time running down though Rovers started to live dangerously and paid dearly three minutes into added time.
Hackett was allowed space down the right to fire in a low cross which West turned in to level in what was a great advert for non-league football.
Rovers: Forster, Jibodu, Jones (c), Thomas, Sonuga, Smith, Osobu, Dummett (Gibson 26), Vincent (McKenzie-Lowe 76), Tshikuna, Furlong.