WELWYN GC's second victory in a week was firmly on the horizon for well over an hour of this clash away at high flying Biggleswade United.
Gifted an opening goal in 14 minutes for new skipper Luke Robins by a terrible mix-up in their defence, Biggleswade United, who had taken 13 points from 15 coming into this game, earned a point from a controversial penalty, 12 minutes from time.
Former WGC captain Danny Payne, back after a five match ban and on as a substitute 12 minutes earlier, disastrously gave the ball away outside his own area. Biggleswade sprang a counter attack with a through ball to their own sub Charlie Black.
His goalbound effort was blocked, but fellow sub David Iwediuno whipped in the rebound. It hit Yasin Boodhoo's arm and struck a post, but referee Steele saw the handball as deliberate, awarded a penalty and gave Boodhoo a straight red card, despite the central defender's strenuous claims it had hit his arm accidentally.
After a short delay, Iwediuno crashed in an unstoppable spot-kick and the home team preserved their recent, unbeaten run.
Herns Lane boss Adam Fisher was understandably disappointed, his side having been the livelier side throughout, apart from the closing minutes.
" Some 1-1 draws and you are happy with a point, particularly against a team enjoying a run like Biggleswade are. I'm disappointed here, I feel it's like two dropped. I didn't feel Biggleswade really threatened us.''
Fisher made two changes to the side that also took a point in the 0-0 draw at Crawley Green three days earlier.
New goalkeeper Kyle Forster was drafted in for his debut as regular first choice Jack Metcalfe was unavailable, while Daril Ngwala was preferred to Ashley Kersey upfront, for his second game for the club.
The Citizens had a lucky escape six minutes in, skipper Robins misplaced a pass towards his own goal, but Forster showed good anticipation going down to safety hold Sturniolo's effort.
Then Robins had cause to celebrate eight minutes later. Josh Bronti made a strong run in midfield and played a pass towards his skipper. Biggleswade full-back Jaidan Irish and keeper Rob Ponting got in a terrible mix-up over who was going to clear and left the ball to Robins to roll it in to an empty net.
WGC veteran defender Jason Coughlan was lucky to escape a yellow card for pulling back the home side's Ky Cyrus, but Ben Long did get cautioned for a hefty challenge on Biggleswade's Gareth Hunt with just over a half-hour gone.
Chances were at a premium for both sides in a cagey affair, although Bronti did very well to dispossess home central defender James Cooper and find Ngwala, whose rising effort struck the angle of post and bar as it went over, in the half's best effort on 38 minutes.
Seven minutes into the second-half,. Ngwala was foiled again, this time keeper Ponting turning around the shot in good style, before Marcus Campbell did excellently to hold off Cooper on the edge of the area, but his low effort lacked power and Ponting saved again.
Both sides rang the changes, WGC introducing Kersey and Payne and latterly Sean Brettell, but the hosts rescued what was looking an unlikely point with the late penalty.
Once level, Biggleswade forced the issue and with WGC losing both central defenders - Boodhoo dismissed and Coughlan (hamstring) - they were forced to re-organise at the back with both subsitutes, Kersey and Payne, finishing the game as the central pairing.
There were some panic-stricken moments in the closing minutes, but WGC maintained their point and produced the best effort of the latter stages- a 35 yard bouncing effort from the impressive George Brinkman - that keeper Ponting was forced to tip around the post.
WGC: Forster, Griffith, Boodhoo, Coughlan (Payne 66), Morris, Brinkman, Long, Robins (Brettell 82), Bronti, Ngwala (Kersey 64), Campbell.