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Stockbridge in top four following come from behind victory
Stockbridge 3 Hayling United 1.
STOCKBRIDGE confirmed fourth spot in Wessex League Division One following their 3-1 home win over struggling Hayling United but not before being given a scare and being behind until past the hour mark.
It was substitutes Stuart Findlay and Dean Higgins who created and scored twice and once Luke Pothecary made it 3-1 the visitors spirit was broken and two late dismissals made the journey back no less arduous.
Joint boss Terry Chapman said after the game: “Sometimes you do the right thing and it doesn’t come off but this time it did as Stuart Findlay and Dean Higgins had both been away so we started them on the bench and it worked out perfectly.”
Hayling took an early lead when a loose ball was tucked away and the Robins struggled despite Ben Thompson having his best game for the club and bossing the proceedings.
Mike Barker skied one cross over and Daryl Phillips had another saved but with Hayling raising their game Stockbridge were continually frustrated and went into the break behind.
Chapman said: “They were told they only had 15 minutes to put things right as they were not getting bodies in the box” and he was true to his word. Home keeper Adam Smith made a superb reflex save from a deflected free-kick and once Findlay and Higgins were introduced the game changed.
Findlay knocked a ball into Higgins and his ball skill was matched by the finish described by Chapman as: “Sublime and a goal anyone would pay money to see.”
Hayling could not handle the movement up front and Pothecary’s 25-yard half-volley was unstoppable which gave Stockbridge the lead which broke the visitors resolve.
Chris Knight then forced his way through with 15 minutes left and was brought down which led to the defender being sent off and soon after Findlay beat the offside trap and his finish closed out the game.
It was left to another Hayling defender to join his colleague for an early shower after being sent off late for foul language but by then the points were staying in Stockbridge.
l Robins’ North Hants Senior Cup tie at home to Andover New Street has been confirmed for Wednesday October 30 at 7.45pm.
The club are also hopeful of staging their league game with Andover Town two days later on November 1 although that that is not confirmed as yet.
Tomorrow the side travel to Petersfield Town.