St Albans City served up one of their most attack-minded performances of the season on Saturday but an inspired performance by Basingstoke Town goalkeeper Stuart Moore rescued a Conference South point for the Hampshire side in an entertaining 1-1 draw at Clarence Park.
A goal to the good at the interval was far less than City, having completely dominated the play, deserved and Basingstoke were in danger of becoming the first side that St Albans have completed a league double over this season.
But just five minutes after the restart the Dragons were back on level terms and in the remaining time either side could have claimed victory.
St Albans made one change from the XI that started for the midweek draw at Havant, with Sam Corcoran replacing Charlie Gorman.
The inclusion of Corcoran would be seen as making City more creative and, certainly during the opening half, the midfielder was highly influential in the play.
Basingstoke were unchanged from their previous two games, the first of which was a 4-0 win away to league leaders Boreham Wood.
Playing towards the Hatfield Road goal the Saints pressed for goals from the off and had won five corners before Basingstoke had mustered as much as a single threat to the home goal.
From the Saints second corner, taken short by Corcoran to Lee Chappell, Town struggled to clear their lines and Jamal Lowe chipped the ball to the back post, where Omar Beckles challenged, and Darren Locke scissor-kicked the falling ball over the bar.
Chappell maintained the pressure with a floated free kick that skimmed the head of Basingstoke skipper David Ray and drifted just wide of the goal.
The Dragons broke swiftly from the ensuing corner but Ian Gayle raced back to clear as Liam Enver-Marum headed for goal.
Basingstoke, forced to defend in numbers, blocked efforts from John Frendo and Corcoran before Chappell blazed a shot high out of the ground.
James Kaloczi, who has been in exceptional form since returning from a prolonged loan to Wingate & Finchley, won the ball from Shaun McAuley and set up Lowe for a run at the Town defence.
Lowe sent a well-placed shot to the left of Moore but the Town keeper pulled off an excellent save at full stretch.
Cityâ€™s dominance was remarkable and on 13 minutes they were, belatedly, rewarded with a goal.
Lowe intercepted a clearance and quickly pushed the ball forward to Frendo.
Town appealed for offside but Rob Dickie, who did not enjoy the best of afternoons, may just have kept the City striker onside.
Frendo advanced into the penalty area before cutting the ball back to Corcoran, whose first shot from 15 yards was beaten out by Moore.
The keeper and two defenders then darted forward to block Corcoran as the ball rebounded to him but the 24-year-old drove a crisp effort through the cluster of players to claim his first goal at the Park.
Three minutes later a long throw by Chappell â€“ an increasingly potent and frequently used weapon in Cityâ€™s armoury â€“ looped off the head of Basingstokeâ€™s Louie Soares and was about to enter the goal when James Harper hooked it to safety.
Moore was next to frustrate the home side as he clawed away a clever shot from 18 yards by Steve Wales after Kaloczi had headed on a long free kick by Welch.
After 25 minutes of almost continual pressure on the â€˜Stoke goal, Jason Bristowâ€™s side finally suggested that they could make a fist of the game when McAuley headed wide from a corner.
The visitors received a helping hand from referee Simon Knapp when the Mangotsfield official awarded â€˜Stoke a goal kick, despite Moore making an excellent save in pushing over the bar a downward header from Kaloczi following a Corcoran corner that was rising up towards the roof of the net.
Kaloczi then began a flowing City move that saw Wales come in from the right and feed Corcoran who, after side-stepping one challenge, had Moore diving once again to his left to save at the expense of a corner.
Moore continued to keep his overrun side in the game with an instinctive point blank save from Frendo after a Chappell corner had been headed on by Locke.
Somehow Basingstoke had reached the interval just a single goal in arrears and proved to be a different proposition after the break, and required just five minutes to pull level.
A patient build up looked to fading out when Locke headed clear, but Smart quickly returned the ball into the penalty area with a wonderful cross from the right that hung in the air and fell perfectly for the unmarked Manny Williams to storm in and volley home his tenth goal of the season.
City were slow to learn the lesson of how lethal Smartâ€™s crosses could be and from an almost identical position the right-back set up Chris Flood for a header that went a yard over the top.
But City were far from finished as an attacking force and Basingstoke were once again thankful to the brilliance of Moore.
Chappell threw the ball in long from the City right and when Kaloczi headed it through a crowded goalmouth Moore did well to claw it from the goalline.
Frendo and Beckles got in each otherâ€™s way as they looked to turn in Mooreâ€™s parry, eventually the ball ran out to Lowe who drove low to Mooreâ€™s right only for the Reading loanee to pull off another stunning save.
As the game became increasingly open Basingstoke hit back with a fine long range effort by Harper that Welch collected cleanly.
Former Barnet man Lowe teased the Dragons all afternoon and during a period of sustained City attacking he caused problems with crosses from either flank.
Town remained penned in their own penalty area as Chappell also swung the ball into the danger area and Corcoran had a shot charged down.
Having survived the latest City threat Basingstoke responded with Smart flashing a shot across the face of the goal and Enver-Marum testing Welch.
The frantic nature of the game was unrelenting and a City counter-attack saw Kaloczi send Lowe charging down the left before crossing low into the penalty area.
Under pressure from Frendo, Dickie hammered the ball away but only into team-mate Smart who was most relieved as the ball brushed the side-netting instead of going inside the post.
Basingstoke sought to improve their title push with a late winner and on 84 minutes Welch rose high to his right to tip over McAuleyâ€™s delightfully placed free kick.
Victory would have been difficult for Basingstoke to justify while City can blame the brilliance of Town keeper Moore for the loss of an extra two points.
St Albans are without a midweek fixture but return to Conference South duty next Saturday, 21 February, with a first visit to Whitehawk. Kick off at East Brighton Park is at 3pm.
James Comley is available for selection after completing his three-match ban, while City are also hopeful that John Kyriacou can be added to the squad after missing eight games through injury.