Eastbourne Borough match-winner Darren Lok had double reason to celebrate after Saturday’s victory against Basingstoke.
Not only did his goal clinch a much-needed victory for the Sports - the 21-year-old striker also agreed a new contract with boss Tommy Widdrington for the remainder of the season.
Widdrington said, “Darren is a great example of a young player who has shown in pre-season and up to now through the league campaign all the attributes required to contribue to our season and indeed to develop further.
“It is important that young players at Priory Lane see a route through the clubs structure ultimately to the first XI squad and a contract.”
Saturday’s victory came a week after Borough were deflated by an 83rd minute strike at Salisbury City - it stretched their time without a win or a goal to four matches.
But step forward Darren Lok who rose to the occasion against Basingstoke to score his first goal for the club on just his second league appearance to pocket the three points.
Widdrington had recalled Lok from his loan spell at Horsham earlier in the month as his Borough side became seriously depleted with several first-team faces side-lined with injury.
Of those, Chris Shephard and Marvin Hamilton returned to the starting 11 on Saturday, while Widdrington handed debuts to new boys Michael Noone and Ben Adelsbury.
It didn’t take long for Borough to get into their stride and Shephard’s volley over the bar after 15 minutes signified the first real chance for the home side.
Just six minutes later, visiting goalkeeper Ashley Bayes pulled off a sensational save to deny Charlie Gorman’s stunning 25-yard volley that appeared to be heading for the corner up until the very second that Bayes parried it away.
That was just one of a handful of spectacular saves the ‘keeper would make that afternoon to keep his side in the match.
At the other end shot-stopper Nick Jordan, who was also making his Borough debut in place of the departing Danny Potter, was equally as reliable and kept out a double effort from Tim Sills just after the break.
However, in the 70th minute, Basingstoke’s Nathan Smart was dismissed for his second booking of the match, which had been a long time coming after the right-back continually failed to handle Josh Scowen’s lightning-quick feet down the left wing.
With the one-man advantage, Borough strived to chase down every last ball and their efforts, particularly those of substitute Lok, paid off. There was six minutes left on the clock as the youngster found the precise angle to slide the ball past an impressive Bayes and delight the Borough contingent with their first goal in three weeks.
Borough were forced to see out a tense four minutes of additional time as Basingstoke pressed for an equaliser, but a defensive line that had been solid all afternoon managed to hold out to secure the much-needed confidence-boosting victory – their third out of four matches on home soil so far this season.
Borough: Jordan 8, Hamilton 8, Cole 8, Rowe 7, Noone 7, Adelsbury 7, Gorman 8, Scowen 8 (Johnson, 91), Hart 6, Ademeno 6 (Lok 63, 8), Shephard 8 (Gilbert 84, 6) Unused subs: David Knight, Chris Morgan.
Basingstoke: Bayes, Smart, Rice, Adams (Patterson 55), Gasson, Campbell, Daly, McAuley, Sills, Holder-Spooner, Warner. Unused subs: Brown, Dunn, Little Morris
MOM: Josh Scowen Referee: Mr Lugg