UNDERDOGS Hexham drew 3-3 with second placed Cullercoats in Northern Alliance Division One.

But while manager Martin Lowes declared himself happy with the result, his hard working side were on course for victory until the visitors equalised in the closing stages.

It was a slow start to the game for home side Hexham, whose goalkeeper Nathan Byerley was winded during a collision with an opposing forward while jumping to catch the ball from a corner.

He may not have fully recovered when Cullercoats took the lead with a header shortly afterwards, on 10 minutes.

Hexham gradually grew into the game, and on 25 minutes, the home forwards were rewarded for their high pressing.

Dylan Mabunu piled pressure on the Cullercoats goalkeeper by chasing a back pass. The unfortunate stopper tried to square the ball to a defender, but he picked out the onrushing Sam Mannion, who rolled it into an empty net.

Hexham were awarded a spot kick on 35 minutes. Mabunu found himself sandwiched between two defenders in the visiting penalty area, and was floored by a late challenge. Will Forsyth fired the ball to the right of the keeper to make it 2-1 to the hosts.

Three minutes later, Byerley was called into action at the other end, as he bravely saved a fearsome volley from close range.

But despite his fine save, Byerley’s goal was breached before half time, as a Cullercoats cross rom the right was met with a neat finish to make it 2-2.

Hexham midfielder Forsyth went off at half time having picked up a knock, and Callum Duncan was introduced to proceedings.

On 50 minutes, Hexham went from back to front in just a few seconds to take a 3-2 lead. Keeper Byerley supplied right back Tom Hacking, who carried the ball over 30 yards down the right flank. His carefully threaded pass picked out Mabunu, who used his pace to beat the opposing full back and find the right side of the goal with a neat finish.

Cullercoats had a penalty appeal turned down on 70 minutes, and finally equalised with six minutes to play to make it 3-3.

The visitors also had a player sent off in the closing stages, while Peter McRoberts could have won it for Hexham in the closing stages. His shot from just outside the box produced a fine save from the keeper.