Winchester needed a late Ben Hibberd equaliser to stave off defeat at lowly Purley Walcountians, where a 2-2 draw led to them conceding top spot in South Hockey League Premier Division 2.
Despite being handicapped by severe traffic problems in Surrey, Winchester took a 1-0 lead pst the interval, but found themselves chasing the game after frittering away a series of chances. Profligate finishing almost cost them dear.
Winchester’s early domination was underlined by a Harry Talks strike, but former skipper Kevin Boniface suffered a nasty head injury and, having missed a large chunk of the game, underwent hospital treatment.
Winchester continued to boss the game, but chances continue to go astray, with the influential Martin Harris twice going close in a frustrating period.
The visitors paid a heavy price as Andrew Baggs and Chris Jones scored to give Purley a 2-1 lead with five minutes left.
The clock was running down when Winchester eventually hit the target - Adam Tollefsen making a superb interception before setting up a move between Kieran Malloy and Harris, who set up the equaliser for Hibberd with just two minutes left.
Oxford University beat Bournemouth 4-2 to slip into top spot, while Trojans trimmed visiting Ashford 3-1 with Dan Ferrier scoring his fifth goal of the season.
Richard Aves and Ben Frost also hit the target.
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