St Albans City manager Ian Allinson praised his side’s character as they fought back from 2-0 down to earn a draw against Maidenhead United on Saturday.

A brace from Sam Barratt looked to have sealed all three points for the National League South leaders, before Tom Bender and Sam Merson hit back for City.

While the result sees the Saints fall to fourth in the table, Allinson was nonetheless delighted with the spirit his players showed to get anything from the game.

“The lads showed fantastic character to come back and we could have quite easily won it in the last couple of minutes,” he said.

“You have to give Maidenhead credit because they have defended very well. They have only conceded 15 goals this season and there is a reason for that.

“It was fantastic to end the losing streak, which is what we wanted to do, it is just a shame we couldn’t have gone on and nicked the three points in the last 10 minutes.”

The Saints were made to battle until the last for their hard-earned point, as Merson drove in a low leveller in the final minute of normal time.

They are now 12 points behind the league’s pace setters, and Allinson accepts securing a play-off berth may be a more realistic target for the remainder of the season.

“We have 18 games to go and we know what we have to do. It is very similar to where we were last season, when we came in and had 14 games left,” Allinson explained.

“We had to go and win eight of those games, which we did, and it is a very similar situation now where we have to go and do the same.

“If the fans stay behind us until the end of the season, we will have a chance of picking up points to take us where we want to be in the play-offs at the end of the season.”

Saturday’s match was also notable for City handing debuts to three players as Jack Saville, Tom Gardiner and Charlie Walker all made their bows for the club.

With influential forward Junior Morias recently departing Clarence Park, Allinson believes the new signings have provided City with a timely morale boost.

“We let ourselves down in the two Oxford City games and we needed to do something about it. We have done that in the week with the three players we brought in,” he said.

“They are quality players and are going to improve the squad. We have just got to try and get Jack and Charlie up to match fitness.

“We started with the new boys in the team and it seemed to give us all a lift. The training has been very good and we got a reaction.”

City’s next league fixture sees them take on Hemel Hempstead in a local derby at Vauxhall Road on Saturday.

Despite sitting 10th, Hemel will provide a stern test of the Saints’ play-off ambitions and are currently enjoying a five game unbeaten run in the league.