GRAYS Athletic fought back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Maldon & Tiptree in an action-packed Isthmian North encounter.

Jimmy Shepherd and Joe Ellul put the play-off chasing Jammers in the ascendancy, following goalkeeper Charlie Burns' injury resulting in full back Ryan Mahal turning out between the sticks.

But against all odds, Stanley Muguo and debutant Tommy Wade got on the scoresheet to snatch a point at Parkside.

Burns was forced off with an injury on the half hour mark, with Callum Thompson replacing him due to a subsitute goalkeeper not being written on the Grays teamsheet despite one being available.

As a result, Mahal donned the goalkeeper's gloves. But the right-back could do nothing to stop Maldon & Tiptree taking the lead six minutes later.

Former Dagenham & Redbridge full back Shepherd slammed home from the edge of the penalty area to notch his first goal for the Jammers.

Things went from bad to worse for Jamie Stuart's side as Thompson - who had only come off the bench 13 minutes earlier - also picked up an injury and Joao Carlos was brought on in his place as an action-packed first half came to a close.

Maldon & Tiptree doubled their advantage six minutes after the interval as former East Thurrock United defender Joe Ellul, who joined the Jammers from Braintree Town last week, headed home a Kieran Bishop corner.

However, Grays halved the deficit on 79 minutes as Muguo found a way past Maldon & Tiptree shot-stopper Christopher Haigh.

Stuart's side went in search of an unlikely equaliser, and it came three minutes from time as Wade ensured a share of the spoils just days after joining Grays.

Grays Athletic: Burns (Thompson 30' (Carlos 43')), Mahal, Folkes, Bruce, Fowler, Muguo, Oli, Cole, Bishop, Poole (Cogan 67'), Wade