Winchester suffered heartbreak in the final 90 seconds of their lower mid-table South League Premier Division 1 encounter as the officials took five minutes of consultation before finally awarding visiting Tunbridge Wells their 3-2 winner.
Whereas the players may feel hard done by, the truth was that they were unable to sustain their first half dominance and opened themselves up to the visitors rapid counter attacking by the Kent side.
The first 20 minutes were relatively even with both sides securing a couple of unconverted penalty corners.
But Winchester's third penalty corner did bring joy for the city side when Kent Langridge was able to divert Ben Hibberd's driven pass with a reverse flat stick past the Tunbridge keeper.
Winchester then took the game by the scruff of the neck, creating good chances for Hibberd and Micah Smithard.
However, the warning signs started with five minutes of the half remaining when Player/Coach George Harris (pictured), in goal, made the first of a series of saves he would have to make before the final whistle after a great piece of skill by the Tunbridge Wells forwards.
The visitors’ late pressure wiped out Winchester's lead just before the break when a sweeping mistimed tackle resulted in a Ben Allberry the penalty stroke and a Winchester yellow card.
The second half started brightly for Winchester when Todd Hutchinson created a great chance which resulted in the ball hanging on the goal line but ultimately cleared. Langridge repeated the act a few minutes later with the ball passing agonisingly across the goal line.
Both sides then received a number of yellow and green cards to disrupt play, but it was Winchester's inability to retain meaningful possession that made the large crowd most anxious and frustration showed itself amongst the players.
Despite this, Winchester regained the lead in the middle of the half, coming from a goal-of-the-season contender as they played concise one-touch passes down the centre of the pitch, freeing Mark Maunsell to strike home on his reverse stick to make it 2-1.
Most of the action then returned to the other end with Harris increasingly busy and with ten minutes remaining Tunbridge Wells equalised through Sam George as a spin pass from the top of the "D" was deflected into the net. 2-2.
Winchester went hunting for a winner but left themselves exposed at the back on a number of occasions.
In the final Tunbridge Wells surge, James Lester an attacker was left in space in the left channel and drove into the edge of the "D", unleashing a shot/pass across Harris who cleared off his pads but unfortunately into the chest of a covering defender and into the net. The discussion between the umpires then ensued, centred largely on whether the attacker was within the "D" when his strike was made. The decision was that he was and the goal was awarded.
Winchester had one last chance to equalise with a ball pulled back from the by-line, but it eluded the advancing Winchester attacking hordes.
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