Sydenhams Division One: Ringwood Town 3-3 Hythe & Dibden
RINGWOOD Town FC and Hythe & Dibden had to settle for a point apiece in their Sydenhams Division One clash after a scintillating Forest derby at the Macra Stadium.
Ringwood striker Ben Harris bagged a hat-trick for the home side while Cain Prentice, Beng’ yela Ngwa and Sam Floyd got on the scoresheet for Hythe.
Ringwood’s Joe Manley came close to scoring in the opening minutes, but the visitors struck the first blow when an unmarked Prentice headed home an Owen Fee free-kick on seven minutes.
Hythe doubled their lead on the 20-minute mark when Ngwa got on the end of a Prentice cross and fired past goalkeeper Nick Harvey.
However, two minutes before half-time Ringwood got themselves back into the game as Harris worked an opening and beat Hythe keeper Josh Cotton.
In the second half, Ringwood started to put pressure on their high-flying opponents. Top-scorer Ryan Hamm nearly got his side back on level terms with a header from an inviting corner.
Town got their reward for their attacking style of football 10 minutes into the second half when Harris claimed his second of the game with a fantastic finish from the edge of the box.
Hythe, who had lost only once in the league since September, fought back and Sam Floyd restored their lead with a jinking 30-yard run into the penalty area and a composed effort past Harvey.
With the points still in the balance going into the final stages, both sides pressed for the crucial goal.
It was man-of-the-match Harris who saved his best goal for last with a stunning strike from range that sailed past Cotton to seal his hat-trick.
With the game winding to a close, both sides had chances to snatch a victory, but neither side could claim the decisive goal in a thrilling derby.
Ringwood Town FC boss Rich Morse told the A&T: “After a slow start and conceding two poor goals from our point of view, I was really pleased with the character of lads to keep fighting.”
He added that he was delighted with hat-trick hero Harris: “I was really pleased for Ben. He is Ringwood through and through and works hard for the team every week.”
Hythe remain within touching distance of top spot in Sydenhams Division One in fourth place while Ringwood perch in 13th place with 20 points from 20 games.
Both sides are in action during the week as Hythe host Folland Sports while Ringwood travel to Romsey Town.