HULLBRIDGE Sports were left to lament missed opportunities as they were made to settle for a 1-1 derby draw with Basildon United.

Although Luke Hornsley put Sports ahead in the Isthmian North meeting, Ernest Okoh ensured a share of the spoils by netting two minutes later at the Ryan’s Heating Stadium.

But the hosts missed two late chances and Hullbridge chief Darren Manning felt his side deserved to clinch all three points.

“We played some unbelievable football in the first half,” said Manning.

“There was some good passing between the lines and it was a joy to watch.

“But we didn’t take our chances and there are fine margins in this division.

“We created two really good chances in the last 20 minutes and we should have taken them, so we should have won.

“The performance level was high and the wins will come.

“It’s another point on the board and it was probably our best display, in terms of our passing football, this season.”

Hornsley expertly headed Matt Rose’s inviting cross home to give Sports a 26th minute lead.

But the hosts were ahead for just two minutes as Basildon drew level thanks to Okoh slotting into the corner of the net.

The Bees’ Harry Doyle struck the post after the break, while Yemi Adelani missed a glorious opportunity to seal a Sports victory late on.

And Manning was keen to praise Michael Agboola, who joined in midweek.

“Michael was outstanding,” added Manning.

“It was a great performance on his debut and he was man of the match by a country mile.

“He was amazing and I’m sure there is more to come.”

The point allowed Basildon to extend their unbeaten run to three clashes in all competitions.

And, while admitting Hullbridge should have grabbed a late winner, the Bees’ caretaker manager Lee Connor felt it was a game of two halves.

“We went into the game thinking it would be a battle and it was,” said Connor.

“Hullbridge knocked the ball about well in the first half and they were the better side.

“We knew we had to go out in the second half and press them a bit more, so we changed our formation and went man-for-man in midfield.

“I thought we put in a good display in the second half and both teams had chances to win the game.

“They had a couple of late chances they should have taken.”