Townsend leaves it late as Hailsham see off Mile Oak
Hailsham Town took three SCFL division one points for the second home match in a row with a late winner to defeat Mile Oak 1-0 at The Beaconsfield.
After a slightly slow start, Hailsham settled into the game, and could have taken the lead when away 'keeper Aaron Stenning just beat Ellis Webster to a poor back pass before Connor Townsend fired wide from the edge of the area on 13. Two minutes later, a whipped cross saw Webster just unable to reach the ball, before the visitors had a spell of pressure ending with firstly a shot wide, and then, a minute later, a fine stop from Louis Peach after an advantage was played.
Hailsham's next opportunity came from a free kick on the half way line, nicely clipped in for Connor Townsend to head back across goal, with Stenning just about doing enough to deny Delight Akerejola a debut goal. A dangerous lunge by Franklin Bendu brought both sides together on 31, with Bendu slightly fortunate to escape with only a yellow card, but inexplicably, the free kick was eventually taken by Mile Oak, with Peach again making a smart save.
Hailsham's best chances of the first half, however, would come in the final minutes before the interval, Ollie Hathaway shooting over before Connor Townsend's superb strike from range was matched by an equally fine diving save from Stenning, with the resulting corner breaking quickly for Mile Oak ending with a shot wide of the upright.
The visitors started the second half on the front foot, with Peach making two very good saves from one on ones, whilst Sammy Townsend could only find the tennis courts with an effort from range on 69. Mile Oak continued to pressure, finding a Hailsham defence resolute, and when they did find a way through, Peach equal to everything they had to offer.
As time ticked on Hailsham again moved onto the front foot - sub Levi Sparks seeing a powerful effort tipped wide on 77, before Connor Townsend fired wide and Sparks had another effort held on 86. The winner would come in the second minute of stoppage time - another Oak chance saved by Peach, before being bowled out to Tom McDonald, whose surging run caused problems, his through ball taking a slight deflection, before Connor Townsend did enough to divert the ball beyond Stenning and into the far corner. Wild Hailsham celebrations followed, but the Stringers still had to be alert, with Peach blocking an effort from range before the loose ball was put wide, with Hailsham holding on for a morale boosting win.
The Stringers are back on the road next Saturday, away to Oakwood, before welcoming Staplehurst Monarchs United on Saturday 25th September in the FA Vase Second Qualifying Round.
Stringers; Peach, Madelin, Fox, Lusted, S Townsend, Guest, C Townsend, Playford (c) (Lloyd 88), Webster, Hathaway (McDonald 50), Akerejola (Sparks 63). Unused; Makombe, Young