Superb late strike from Lok seals three points for determined Borough

A superb late strike from Darren Lok ensured Eastbourne Borough claimed their first victory at Priory Lane since November.

Lok replaced Crawley Town loanne Jonte Smith in the 70th minute and netted a winner against Hayes and Yeading with 90 minutes on the clock to send the home crowd into raptures and help ease a few relegation worries.

Darren Lok

Darren Lok

The young striker dispossed the Hayes defender, cut inside and evaded four tackles before firing home a finish beyond ‘keeper Louis Wells.

Hayes and Yeading had the first chance as they were awarded a disputed penalty on seven minutes. Crystal Palace loanee Alex Wynter appeared to cleanly take the ball with a sliding tackle on striker Tom Collins but referee Cooper ignored the protests and pointed to the spot.

Boss Tommy Widdrington was going ballistic on the touch line but Borough stopper Danny Potter remained the coolest man in the ground and produced a fine stop low to his left to deny John Goddard.

Spurred on by the save Borough powered forward and took the lead on 16 minutes. Former Brighton man Gary Hart crossed from the left and Simon Johnson rose above his marker and directed a clever header beyond the Hayes ‘keeper.

The game became a battle contested in midfield. Commitment levels from both sides was high but it produced little goalmouth action. Borough created a couple of half chances with Charlie Gorman heading wide from a Frankie Raymond cross and Hart also headed over from a Raymond cross moments later.

Jonte Smith, on loan from Crawley Town, struggled to make an impression although he did have one decent effort from 25 yards that was gathered by the ‘keeper.

Hayes began the second half on the front foot. A nice exchange of passes played in Luke Williams but a wayward first touch pushed him too wide and the angle was too acute to trouble Potter at the near post. Minutes later Potter was down bravely to gather a low cross from Ben Gladwin and deny the onrushing Collins.

Borough topscorer Elliott Charles, easing his way back from injury, replaced the hardworking Hart. Charles was almost on the scoresheet within five minutes of coming on. Johnson crossed from the right and Charles’ instinctive, powerful effort was somehow finger tipped over the bar by Louis Wells.

Bayen Fenwick, another loanee from Crystal Palace, replaced Charlie Gorman and Darren Lok came on for a tiring Smith.

Borough looked the better side and were going for a second but were caught by a swift break with eight minutes remaining. Lively substitute Kudus Oyenuga lost his marker and squeezed a low effort under the body of Potter.

It looked like the points would be shared until Lok picked up the ball on 90 minutes, cut inside four defenders and powered a finished beyond Wells.

Widdrington said, “He did it once again. The determination he showed to score that goal summed up our entire teams performance. Full credit to the lads tonight this no lucky three points, we fully deserved the win.”

See Friday’s Herald for match report, pictures and reaction.

Borough: Potter, Adelsbury, Cole, Gorman (Fenwick 70), Wynter, Watts, Johnson, Aldred, Smith (Lok 75), Hart (Charles 60), Raymond

Subs not used: Smith, Rowe.

Hayes and Yeading: Wells, Sankofa, Everiss, Cox, Butcher, Cadmore, Goddard, Gladwin (Everitt 58), Collins (Oyenuga 66), Williams, Corcoran.

Subs not used: Hall, McLean, Bentley

MOM: Darren Lok

Referee: Mr Cooper

Att: 379