Winchester City 1 AFC Totton 1.

IT wasn't the prettiest of spectacles but there was no shortage of drama between Winchester City and AFC Totton today.

The Stags had to soldier on with nine men, yet still came away with a 1-1 Evo-Stik South West draw.

Two of Totton's most experienced players, Dave Allen and Ian Oliver, got their marching orders in front of a 325 New Year’s Day crowd at the Simplyhealth City Ground.

But, despite that handicap, Totton’s rapidly maturing youngsters held strong for a share of the spoils, leaving the sides locked together on 37 points on the fringes of the play-off zone.

Skipper Allen, making a rare start following long-term injury, was the first to get his marching orders on 37 minutes, picking up a second booking for dissent for arguing about the first.

Winchester made the breakthrough just after the break when Oli Bailey, the smallest player on the park, headed home his 18th goal of the season.

But that lead evaporated eight minutes later when Totton’s Alfy Whittingham was adjudged to have been fouled by City keeper Ryan Pryce as he followed up his own shot.

The Havant & Waterlooville loanee midfielder got to his feet and confidently beat Pryce from the spot.

Another eight minutes elapsed before referee James Robinson reached to his pocket again – left-back Oliver shown a straight red for his challenge on Joe Hayward, who subsequently went off injured.

It left Totton to play out almost half an hour with nine men but, for all Winchester’s pressure, they lacked the guile to break them down.

Citizens boss Craig Davis said: “It was defence versus attack at the end, but we didn’t show enough quality in the wide areas to open it up.

“We didn’t really get going, if I’m honest, and it wasn’t the spectacle I’d expected. It was a better point for Totton than it was for us and, credit to them, they defended well.

“It was a blood-and-thunder type of game, short on quality, and we’re disappointed not to have got the three points.”

Totton boss Louis Langdown regarded both red cards as “soft”.

"The foul for Dave Allen's first yellow was no different to what was going on all over the park,” he said. "Dave already had a cut lip from getting an elbow in the face.

"As for Ian Oliver, it was a block tackle that was more yellow than red in my eyes.

“Winchester end up playing against ten men in a lot of games and we tried to avoid giving away fouls and anything that could compromise us, but evidently not!” he said.

“But ultimately we’re really happy with a point. We had a lot of young players out there and looked solid with nine men.

“These young lads are learning more than they’re disappointing me and I’m really proud of them.

“It wasn’t a nasty game by any stretch of the imagination, it was just two teams who didn’t want to lose.

“The pitch was difficult and boggy but, credit to Winchester, for getting the game on.”

Winchester City: Ryan Pryce, Joe Hayward (IK Hill, 65), Adam Tomasso (Andy Jenkinson, 48), Liam Gilbert, Joe Cook, Josh Harfield, Dan Williamson, Jamie Barron, Oli Bailey, Pat Cox, Rob Carr. Subs (not used): Rob Flooks, Craig Davis, Gareth Byres.

AFC Totton: Shane Murphy, Connor York, Ian Oliver, Dave Allen, Callum Chugg, Jack Barker, Curtis Young, Alfy Whittingham, Craig Feeney, Tony Lee (Nathaniel Sherborne, 75) Charlie Gunson. Subs (not used): Adam Wilde, Toby Adekunle, Robin Nicholls, Jack Smith.

Referee: James Robinson.

Attendance: 325.

*Salisbury rose to second with a hard-fought 2-0 home win over promotion rivals Wimborne Town.

Steve Claridge’s Whites took a tenth-minute lead when Owen Howe touched home Danny Young’s cross.

Wimborne piled on the pressure in search of a leveller, but Salisbury struck again in stoppage time through former Winchester midfielder Stuart Green.

The 902 Ray Mac crowd was the biggest in the Evo-Stik South West this season.