A late equaliser by debutant Chad Birch rescued a point for Khalsa in a flowing and exciting clash at Loughborough University.
And but for a late offside flag, the Students might have taken all three points as they scrambled home what appeared to be a winner.
This was an expansive game, if not overly penetrative in the early stages. Carlo Franco had to be on his toes to intervene to stop a dangerous Alun Webb cross reaching the lurking Max Herbert after just four minutes while at the other end Dave Meese made a hash of a header from a good set piece routine involving Mensah Kinch and Tim Jackson.
A good save by Connor O’Keefe denied Craig Bannister on 14 minutes as he covered good ground to get back and tip a long-range lob over the bar.
There were quick-fire chances at either end on 24 minutes, first Meese fed striker Simeon Townsend whose shot was charged down for a corner, from which Loughborough broke away and Mihai Gherasim needed to produce a great save from Webb which was parried to Herbert who couldn’t react quickly enough and headed over.
Loughborough began to come into the game more. First Gherasim had to hold a swerving long-range effort with both Herbert and Ward-Cochrane lurking for the slightest hint of a rebound.
And then a Herbert shot was deflected onto the roof of the net via the leg of John Hill.
The second half was a much more closely fought affair.
Hill might have opened his Khalsa account on 54 minutes, spurning an opportunity from a set piece after Meese had flicked on Jackson’s free kick. Substitute Birch fired into the side netting on 67 minutes after good work by fellow sub Nicky Campbell.
But it was Loughborough who opened the scoring on 69 minutes, Cameron Gordon tapping home after great work down the right hand side by Webb.
Khalsa almost pulled it back straight away, O’Keefe saving well from Marvin Nisbett within two minutes of the restart. O’Keefe was the hero again on 76 minutes, denying both Tes Robinson and Bannister with a series of saves.
But the pressure finally told on 83 minutes, a Robinson flick finding Birch and the debutant firing home. Both sides pressed for a winner in the closing stages and it was almost the home side that grabbed it, substitute Jerimiah Dasaolu’s close range strike was controversially ruled out for offside in the dying moments.
Sporting Khalsa: Mihai Gherasim; Carlo Franco, Tim Jackson, John Hill (Michael Nelson), Tes Robinson; Dave Meese, Craig Bannister, Mensah Kinch (Nicky Campbell), Lee Wherton (captain); Simeon Townsend (Chad Birch), Marvin Nisbett.
Man of the match: Tim Jackson