Littlehampton Football Club manager Ady Baker hailed his side’s performance after they won at home to leaders Shoreham on Monday.
Goals from Ryan Bell and Jack Cole took Golds to victory against a Shoreham side who had won 19 of their 21 league games heading into the match, which included just one defeat.
It was a second successive win for Littlehampton, after a 4-1 success at Worthing United on Boxing Day, and Baker said: “Shoreham had their full-strength side out but we fully deserved to win.
“We didn’t have George Gaskin, Mitchell Hand, Liam O’Connor, Jordan Farrell and Jack Newhouse but still had a strong side out. We set up very compact to stop the ball going out wide as that’s where they hurt teams.
“Ryan scored a screamer to give us the lead and Jack then finished off an excellent team move to make it 2-0 early in the second half.
“Luke Hutchings made an unbelievable save to keep out Rob O’Toole’s penalty, before they got a goal back with seven minutes to go after a mix-up in our box.
“We had chances of our own in the second half as well, however it was like the Alamo in the last five minutes but we held on.”
Baker praised his team’s performance and added: “Lee Garnham was superb in the middle of the park and Marshall Ball, who’s only 17, was terrific and did a job on Kevin Keehan, who’s the best midfielder in the league.
“The whole team were superb, though, and I was proud of every single player, they all did everything that was asked of them.”
Shoreham’s Scott Packer had an effort disallowed for a push before Littlehampton went ahead when Bell’s 25-yard shot flew into the top corner.
Garnham went close to a second before the break, before Golds doubled their lead early in the second half. Cole finished off a flowing move which involved Ben Gray, Garnham and Ball.
Shoreham’s O’Toole had a low penalty superbly saved by Hutchings, while Ball and Alex Kew went close to a third for the home side.
O’Toole got a goal back from close range with seven minutes left after a mix-up in Golds’ defence.
The visitors then presssed for an equaliser but Littlehampton stood firm to hold on to all three points.
The victory lifted Golds up to 15th in the table but they now have a break from action until January 21, when they host AFC Uckfield.
Baker said: “I don’t think two weeks off will be a bad thing for us as we’ve been carrying a couple of knocks.
“We’ll just look to continue our momentum when we next play as our next two games, against AFC Uckfield and Hassocks, are massive for us.
“They’re both just above us in the league, so we’ll be looking to take points off both of them.”
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Baker said: “We’ve just got to continue to take it one game at a time. We’ll be looking to pick up three points in every game that we play.”
LITTLEHAMPTON: Hutchings; Chaplin, Bates, McKay, Bell; Lewis, Kempson, Garnham, Ball, Cole; Gray. Subs: Kew (Cole 60), Ashman (Lewis 75), Lofting.
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