Eagles twice came from behind to force a draw in an exciting game against the league leaders, which flowed from end to end, both sides creating chances to win the game.
Eagles were weakened by the loss of key players to injury and started slowly. The Lions rained shots on the Eagles goal in the first quarter of an hour and were unlucky not to go ahead when a deflected shot hit a post before being cleared. Eagles responded and when new centre forward George Sarafoudis was fouled Den Crook hit the direct free kick from 20 yards on target but it was too close to the keeper, who pushed the ball round the post.
Dan Goad had to make a sharp save to stop the Lions going ahead but after 17 minutes they scored from a simple tap in from near the penalty spot when defenders left the player unmarked and failed to cut out a low cross from the right. Eagles responded and after 25 minutes Jamie Farrar latched on to a pass from Sarafoudis to hit a low shot into the corner of the net from 10 yards. He then nearly scored a second when put clear on goal but failed to get a decent first touch on the ball and was crowded out by defenders.
Play was from end to end. Shane Carthy hit a low shot from the edge of the penalty area but straight at the home keeper, and then a flowing move and cross eluded 3 Eagles players who were unable to get a finishing touch. Lions almost got a goal just before the interval but the shot was parried by Goad and the rebound hit high over the crossbar when a more measured attempt might well have found the target.
After the interval Eagles had a real let off when a header by Lewis Mitchell back to his keeper failed to carry as Goad was slow to leave his line, and with the goal at his mercy a chasing Lions forward hit his shot high over the crossbar.
Eagles counter attacked. Lee Pateman hit a free kick from just outside the penalty area just wide of a post and then Eagles went behind to another defensive error. As defenders dropped off a low shot from the edge of the penalty found the corner of the Eagles net. This caused Eagles to push more players forward, and Shaun Turner added much needed pace to the attack. A long ball down the centre from David Locke put him clear on goal but his shot was deflected on to the bar and over. Farrar was unable to force the ball home from close range after the Lions keeper spilled a shot from Crook but after 75 minutes sub Jamie Platt hit a low shot just wide of the post and within minutes got the equaliser with another low shot into the corner from an acute angle after going round the on rushing keeper.
Loins responded and Goad had to make a good save from a close range header and then had to rush out of his area to head clear a long ball down the centre as Eagles defenders were beaten for pace. Eagles had a couple more half chances to win the game, but a draw was a fair result and a credit to both teams.