Kolkata: Pailan Arrows struck through substitute Tirthankar Sarkar to hold United Sikkim FC to a 1-1 draw in their return leg I-League fixture at Kalyani on Monday.
Anwar Ali gave United Sikkim a 74th minute lead but Sarkar found the equaliser in the 87th minute with a spectacular effort to earn one point for the local challengers.
The AIFF developmental outfit thus extended their unbeaten run to three matches to be on 19 points from 17 games while United Sikkim had 12 from 18 outings.
The first half turned to be a listless affair as both the sides focused on not conceding. There were hardly any instance of attacking play that could spell danger at either end of the ground.
The second half started with more purpose as Arrows took the initiative to attack and pushed for a break.
The Arrows attacking-line, comprising Holicharan Narzary, Alwyn George and Seiminlen Doungel (on loan from East Bengal), set up a wave of attacks but were unable to break down a sturdy Sikkim defence.
Sikkim defender Anwar Ali broke the deadlock in the 74th minute with a scissor kick following a half-hearted clearance from the Arrows defender Souvik Ghosh.
Coach Arthur Papas made a couple of quick changes to refresh the Arrows' attack.
The ploy worked well as Sarkar, who replaced Rajinder Kumar in the midfield in the 81st minute, found the equaliser in the 87th minute following a low cross from the right flank.