Horsham YMCA missed out on the opportunity to go two points clear of third place Hassocks on Saturday, as they drew 2-2 away at Chichester City.
Peter Buckland’s side twice took the lead but twice the Lilywhites came from behind to force a share of the spoils.
Despite claiming only a point, YM moved back up to second spot in Division 1 on goal difference, with nearest rivals Hassocks and Littlehampton both losing.
YM boss Buckland said: “We’ve got to look at the bigger picture as two points dropped if I’m being honest, but the way the other results went, it has actually put us back up into second place.
“It was a difficult game on a heavy, heavy pitch. I did address it to the lads after the game that we can’t seem to replicate our home performances away from home. We don’t seem to travel very well, but the general consensus of opinion is that our pitch allows us to move the ball around fast and crisply. But we can’t use that as an excuse because it’s the same for everyone.”
Brad Curtis’ 36th minute effort for YM was cancelled out four minutes before half time by the hosts’ Gareth Sanashee to send the sides into the break all square.
A Chichester own goal midway through the second period then restored the visitors’ lead, before front man George Landais netted his fourth goal in three games for the home side with quarter of an hour left to play, to ensure it ended honours even.
Buckland added: “We’re one game away from the halfway stage, and we don’t want mid-season mediocrity creeping in.
“We’ve all got to buy in to what we’re doing. There are going to be games where I’m going to be making changes to get fresh legs and fresh minds on.
“We’ve now got Lingfield, Dorking Wanderers and then East Grinstead, which are three big games. I’ve got the players coming in for an early meet on Saturday. We’re going to have a talk about our achievements and our objectives and targets for the second half of the season.
“Our target is going to be 80 points. I’d like to think with only 20 teams in the league that 80 points will be enough to guarantee second place. If we can achieve 80 points, I’d consider that a very successful season wherever that may take us.
“Going into the New Year we’ve got everything to look forward to. We’re getting all of our players back and of course the next headache from a manager’s point of view is keeping them all happy, because out of the 17, you can only start eleven.
“That’s a conundrum in itself, but I think that we’ve got a good bunch of lads from that point of view.”
YM (4-2-3-1): S. Smith, D. Sullivan, Crane, Burgess, O’Carroll, M. Smith (Hutchings), Dugdale, Hunter (J. Brown), D. Brown, B. Curtis, N. Sullivan.