STEYNING Town Football Club ended their five-game winless run on Saturday with late 1-0 victory at high-flying Littlehampton.
This was not a game for the footballing purist on a wet and windy afternoon that should have seen Littlehampton move up to third place in County League Division 2, but instead, Steyning moved further clear of danger at the bottom after snatching a late winner.
The hosts were on the front foot from the start as the ever-willing Danny Hand’s third-minute shot was fumbled by Luke Green in the Steyning goal. Just six minutes later, the lively Michael Hendrick cut neatly inside Ryan Pratt and his shot was well saved by Green, but Hand had two bites at the cherry from the rebound, which ended up going behind for a goal kick.
Golds did have the ball in the back of the net on 18 minutes as Hendrick appeared to beat Pratt on the outside and cross for Hand, who buried from six yards out, but the linesman adjudged Hendrick offside, after Hand had netted, to the bemusement of all those in attendance.
Dan Kempson then got through the Steyning back line like the proverbial hot knife through butter after 22 minutes, but his weak shot was touched onto the post by Green.
The second half began as the first half ended and just a minute in, Hendrick once again forced Green into a good save, having been put in down the left by Jamie Atterwell. The same two players combined four minutes later, only for Atterwell to place the ball the wrong side of the post.
Steyning finally began to find their feet with Ryan De Freitas blazing over when well placed on 58 minutes.
Normal service resumed as Littlehampton substitute Joe Charman fashioned himself a great opportunity but prodded his shot wide on 70 minutes.
Jon Hendrick in the Golds goal was then finally called upon to make a save with 16 minutes to go as his left-hand pushed Adam Burton’s long-range effort over, only for Charman to once again waste a great opportunity at the other end after running on to Atterwell’s inch-perfect ball, the winger blazed over the bar with eight minutes left on the clock.
With two minutes of normal time remaining, Steyning substitute Sonny Williamson found Phil Williamson in acres of space on the edge of the box and the striker placed the ball into the bottom right corner to seal the points for the visitors.
A delighted Steyning manager Richard Whittington said: “We had five players out today, so I’m really pleased with the win.
“It wasn’t a great performance but the lads stuck to their tasks and got rewarded for it.
“We desperately needed the win, not just in terms of points for the league table but also in terms of confidence within the side.
“We had been going through a bad patch before the enforced break and I think having a few weeks off helped us mentally.
“The aim now is to put a bit of a run together to finish the season strongly and finish as high up as we can.”
Steyning, who are sixth from bottom, host bottom-of-the-table Seaford, who have lost 11 of their last 12 matches, on Saturday.
STEYNING: Green, Pratt, Ford, Bowles, Shelford; Monaghan, Parsons, Harris, Defreitas; P.Williamson, A.Burton. Subs: S.Williamson, Walsh (Harris, Defreitas 75), Gurney.