NW London almost marked their debut Step 6 appearance with a victory as they faced Barkingside on Friday Night, but a late fightback from the away side meant the points were shared in North London.

It was clear from the off that the hosts were keen to set a marker for what was to come and it certainly was felt on Barkingside. Within 30 seconds they opened the scoring. Guiherme Silva had seen his shot blocked just inside the box before he laid it off to Lucas Gonzalez, who’s effort flew into the top corner. ‘Side had looked to recover from a slow start as they looked to retrieve the ball, but the hosts did well to keep hold of it.

The pressure continued from North West as they sought to extend their lead, and they nearly did as Bruno Da Silva rose the highest from a corner, but he just missed his head. It wasn’t a long wait for a second though, and in the 12th-minute, the hosts doubled their lead. A ball was chipped into the path Sam Daniel, who after initially missing his kick, poked the ball beyond the keeper.

NW London continued to dominate the possession, knocking it about well, but Barkingside had their chances. A shot was fired over the bar from Codey Cosgrave before an ambitious free-kick from the forward was smashed towards goal from distance, but well held by Charlie Casey.

‘Side had really come into the game as they sought a way back. After spotting the keeper off his line, a lob effort was just over the bar, before John Gilroy had a great opportunity, running onto a blocked shot but firing his effort over. The visitors then found the woodwork as a poked effort towards goal cannoned off the upright.

Right before half-time, the hosts thought they had a third. Gonzalez had slotted the ball beyond the keeper, but his joy was short lived as the linesman’s had his flag up for offside, a huge let off for ‘Side.

NW had looked to repeat their start in the first half and although they seemed to have more of the ball, it was Barkingside with the first opportunity of the second period as a header was just over the bar. It seemed like a more evenly contested game, but both sides defended well.

The hosts had a couple of shots blocked on the edge of the box, before they almost had a third as Hugo Jowaloyes made a good run in-field before unleashing his shot which was inches wide. Gilroy had another good chance as he sprinted away from the defence, but he shot towards the top corner was well held by the keeper. Down the other end, the hosts’ Cleber De Medeiros looked to score from the edge of the box, but dragged his shot wide.

‘Side finally found an goal in the 75th minute as Gilroy made a good run down the left-hand side before smashing the ball off the inside of the far post. The goal erupted a brawl amongst the players, resulting in NW being reduced to ten men.

It wasn’t long before the hosts had restored their two-goal advantage with Diogo Jesus netting their third goal. The forward had cut inside and fired a shot beyond the keepers reach from outside the box. The goal sparked life back into the hosts, who sought more goals, but despite a shot stinging the keepers hands, it was kept out.

The action wasn’t finished there. With two-minutes of normal time to play, the visitors were awarded a penalty, which was converted. Having conceded two goals in the final 15 minutes, NW London were holding on by a thread, but they could hold as the game went into added time.

The 10-men of North West repelled as many attacks as they could until ’Side found an equaliser in the 93rd-minute. The ball was taken to the byline before being played across goal, leaving an easy tap in for the away side.

There was enough time for both sides to come forward in the two minutes that followed, but neither could find a winning goal.