A match that could have gone either way ended with honours even as Enfield Borough left Rayners Lane with a 1-1 draw from their opening Spartan South Midlands Division One game of the season on Saturday.

While both teams could claim that they were unlucky not to take the three points on offer, neither deserved to come away from the game empty handed.

Borough joint manager Mani Asare had mixed emotions after the game. He said: “At the start of the match a draw at Rayners Lane would have looked like a good result, but in the circumstances it now feels like a defeat.

“I cannot fault the players effort today, they gave so much and stuck to the game plan. But I was far from happy with the officiating. There were some poor decisions out there today, not even borderline offside, and had we had better luck with those, I am convinced that we could have finished with the win.”

After a quiet opening Borough started to crank up the pressure as Isaac Stevens had a shot blocked while Rayners keeper Lewis Everett parried Richard Ennin’s effort.

The hosts were dangerous as they broke quickly from inside their own half to leave Rob Hastings one-on-one with debutant keeper Jamil Shallo but his tame shot was easily dealt with. Shallo had more difficulty when pushing over Jamie Doolan’s header.

Borough’s front four were combining well and after neat interplay with Alie Bangura, Miach Jackson was clean through only to be robbed by Johnny Wilson’s last-ditch intervention.

But Borough’s pressure eventually told after 37 minutes. Dervon Hurde got to the byline, his cutback was behind Bangura, but the striker had time to gather the ball and swivel and his shot squirmed through Everett’s grasp.

Guy Kiangebeni blocked Andy Ingram’s snap-shot while Everett prevented Bangura from doubling the lead before the hosts missed a golden chance to equalise when Doolan rose unchallenged inside the six-yard box. His header beat Shallo but hit the bar and bounced away.

Borough started the second half in control, with Stevens cracking a shot off the foot of the post before Rayners Lane hit the woodwork again when Elliot Harris struck the crossbar from 25 yards.

Both sides continued to trade opportunities, but throughout the match Borough’s pacy forwards were getting repeatedly pulled up for offside. Among the majority of correct decisions were a number of dubious calls that were frustrating Enfield players and management alike.

Their one-goal advantage never looked likely to be enough to secure the win and the seemingly inevitable equaliser arrived with just six minutes remaining. Substitute Devante Hastings managed to evade the close marking of Hurde as he controlled a cross-field pass and he cut inside to slip the ball under Shallo and into the bottom corner of the net.