After suffering a first defeat since October last time out, Billingham Synthonia's hopes of clinching a promotion play-off spot in Ebac Northern League Division Two in their centenary season received another setback on Saturday when they had to settle for a point against Ryton & Crawcrook Albion at Kingsley Park.

Although most of the play in the first 10 minutes was in the visitors' half, there was no end product with striker Rhys McLeod twice caught offside when trying to get on the end of balls over the top from Jack Errington and recent signing Dario Dos Santos.

Slow to start, Billingham Synthonia then got a foothold in the game. A well-worked four-man move ended with centre forward Matty Willshaw's close range effort being blocked for a corner that was headed away by the towering Kristian Sands.

They came again down the left side of the box on 15 minutes and striker Craig Hutchinson had a 10 yard firmly struck angled drive palmed away by Brogan Colquhoun.

The visitors continued to press in what will have seemed like wave after wave for the Albion backline. A speculative long range strike from Willshaw sailed over the roof of the stand, Jonny Peacock's trademark long throw into the six-yard box wasn't dealt with by Colquhoun and had to cleared off the line, and subsequent attacks ended with two more shots being blocked in the box as defenders put their bodies on the line.

The relentless pressure eventually told in the 25th minute when Declan Brown wasn't closed down 25 yards from goal and the midfielder unleashed a screaming shot into the bottom corner giving Colquhoun no chance (0-1).

A poor back pass gifted another half-chance to Hutchinson but Colquhoun was off his line quickly to narrow the angle and the ball rebounded off the striker for a goal-kick.

At the other end, a mix-up at the back saw space open up for full back Liam Lowery on the edge of the box and his firmly struck effort was saved low down to his left by debutant keeper Sam Taylor who only re-signed for the club on loan the previous day from National League outfit York City.

A few minutes later, a long ball over the top was missed by both central defenders leaving McLeod through on goal but a poor first touch saw him lose possession before getting a shot away.

Normal service resumed in the closing stages of the half as the visitors twice came close to extending their lead.

A 35 yard strike from Joseph Scaife-Wheatley took a huge deflection and was dipping under the bar until being tipped over superbly by Colquhoun. The keeper failed to claim the resulting corner and was relieved to see Jack Winstanley fire the loose ball over the bar.

On the stroke of half-time, a wayward back pass was latched onto by Willshaw inside the box on the right and his crisp strike from a tight angle crashed against the outside of the near post before going behind for a goal-kick.

The hosts were out the blocks quickly after the break and it only took them four minutes to get back on level terms.

Dos Santos brought a crossfield pass under control on the left before bursting forward into the box between two defenders and was tripped in the process. Aaron Costello stepped up to calmly drill the resulting penalty into the bottom corner despite Taylor diving the right way (1-1).

A mistake by Jamie Davis on 54 minutes outside his own box on the right played in McLeod who flicked the ball beyond the advancing Taylor just before being scythed down. The keeper's wild challenge on the edge of the area prevented a certain goal with his net unguarded and he should have been sent off but inexplicably only received a yellow card.

The visitors were now firmly on the back foot as Albion went close to a second on several occasions.

Oliver Symons' pinpoint through ball delivered from his own half put McLeod clean through on goal but he fired wide of Taylor's left-hand post, another effort was cleared off the line, and Taylor did well to palm a shot that bounced just in front of him beyond the far post.

A rare Synthonia attack in the 71st minute ended with Willshaw firing narrowly wide of Colquhoun's left-hand post.

Albion substitutes Dylan Lawson and Matthew Todd then linked up well to create an opening for Todd who saw his angled strike blocked by Taylor's outstretched leg.

They kept pressing for a winner and top-scorer Costello appeared to be brought down in the box near the byline but appeals for a penalty were waved away, ahead of 8 minutes of stoppage time.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 93rd minute when Declan Brown received a second yellow card but managed to hold on for a draw as Glenn Caygill's header from Lawson's corner was saved on the line and Lawson's last-gasp effort sailed over the bar.