WITHAM Town came from behind twice to earn an FA Cup extra preliminary round replay following a hard-fought 2-2 draw against St Panteleimon at Potters Bar, writes JIM PURTILL.

The tie developed from a featureless contest in the first half to a traditional cup-tie, in the second period.

There was a lack of quality possession in the first half and both sides seemed tentative in their attacking approach play but the second half was very different.

Witham were dominant throughout much of it and they looked the side most likely to progress into the next round.

Both sides took time to settle and the first significant attack took place in the 12th minute when a good pass from Witham’s Harry Norman found striker Ronnie Bates.

He combined with Jeff Cobblah and Gaz Dauti who was fouled just outside the penalty area but Norman’s free-kick went over the bar.

Braintree and Witham Times:

St Panteleimon had most of the territorial advantage in the early stages but Witham looked assured at the back.

The midfield was congested and neither side seemed prepared to attack in numbers.

This restricted the quality and quantity of goal threats and both defences coped well with attacking pressure.

Norman was influential in central midfield for Witham and he produced an excellent pass for Rash Salau on the right.

Salau’s cross was gathered with some difficulty by St Panteleimon’s goalkeeper Lincon Marques.

Robert Adams also impressed on his return to Witham.

A lost ball in midfield proved expensive for the visitors in the 29th minute as it lead to the first goal for the hosts.

Braintree and Witham Times:

After a cross from the St Panteleimon right, the alert Ayub Albadri was first to react in front of goal and turn the ball past Witham custodian Amarildo Cekrezi.

In Witham’s last move before half-time, a good Adams pass found Rash Salau whose cross almost reached Bates.

Albadri and Emerson Guimares both shot narrowly wide for St Panteleimon, as the first half drew to a close.

Witham dew level in the first minute of the second half when Cobblah's cross from the right was deflected by Marcos Vinicius into his own net for an equaliser.

The goal breathed life into the fixture and the match opened up.

The caution of the first half was swept aside as the contest developed into a traditional cup encounter.

The hosts went ahead again in the 52nd minute with a simple goal that came out of nothing. A well-executed wall pass in the centre of the Witham defence allowed Albadri to pick his spot past the advancing Cekrezi.

Witham reacted well. The introduction of Adam Cheniti provided more attacking options for the visitors and energised their attacking forays.

Cobblah missed a great chance to equalise in the 62nd minute when he shot wildly over the bar after excellent determination by Cheniti.

Two minutes later, Cheniti was felled in the penalty area and Cobblah scored from the penalty spot to restore parity.

Bates shot over for Witham as the visitors looked likely to score a winner but the match reverted to a scrappy contest, in the last few minutes.

Good chances for the hosts were few and far between but Hamza Meizou missed a great opportunity when he unnecessarily rushed a shot which was far too high.

Witham almost wrapped up a victory with the last action of the match when a shot from Cobblah went narrowly wide, as the spoils were shared.