BALTI Sports were denied a win on the first day of the new Dorset Premier League season as a late goal from Blandford United salvaged a 2-2 draw at Weymouth College.

In a sign of early-season rustiness, both sides missed numerous chances during the game but Balti did open a 1-0 lead when Sean Zima’s cross was headed home by new captain Scott Walker.

Blandford dominated a 15-minute spell before half-time and levelled on 41 minutes through Steve Smith, who fired into the bottom corner following a free-kick.

Balti were straight out of the traps in the second half, missing two chances, but United replied with two spurned one-on-ones as goalkeeper Andy Nott thwarted the away side.

However, another cross, this time from Liam Taylor, helped put Balti ahead on 60 minutes as Sammy Nichols strongly headed home from 18 yards.

But a bad mistake cost Balti in the 84th minute as overplaying in the defence allowed Blandford to steal possession and feed Bradley Pike to score across Nott.

Balti boss Marco Nott told Echosport: “It was a hard-fought contest and a draw was a fair result.

“In the overall picture I was disappointed – it just felt like a loss after the game.”

Balti: A Nott, R Walker, S Walker, Anderson, Taylor, Drummond, Nichols, Devaney, McClements, S Zima, Andrews. Subs not used: Innes, Burton, Pearce, Moore, Gay

Bridport Reserves now lie in wait at St Mary’s Field tomorrow (7.45pm).

Nott said: “It’s always a special game when you play under floodlights, it just seems different. It’s going to be a tough game because they could filter some first-teamers down if they wanted to. You never quite know what to expect.”

Ricky Lane, Sanchez Baker and Stef Stavrianos are available but Jack Drummond misses out.