Enzo Benn’s early headed goal earned Mile Oak Football Club all three points in their final Southern Combination League Division 1 game of the season last night.
Benn’s effort after just three minutes helped Oak to a 1-0 victory over managerless rivals Southwick at Old Barn Way.
Wickers – who sacked former boss John Kilgarriff on Sunday – had beaten Mile Oak 3-0 in the reverse fixture but Oak made sure they avoided an unwanted double defeat against their rivals.
The win ensured Ben Shoulders’ side sealed a fourth-placed finish, ending the campaign just three points and a place below Little Common in the final promotion spot.
Kilgarriff’s assistant Tony Gratwicke and first-team coach Jeff Piner took charge of Southwick, with a new manager yet to be announced.
The only goal of the game after just three minutes. The Benn brothers combined to get the decisive goal.
Joseph’s corner was headed home by Enzo as Oak ended the season with a 1-0 win.
After Benn’s header, Oak went close again eight minutes later through Michael Gould.
He was denied by a smart save from Harrison Hilfiker, then Jamie McKenzie then went close with a snapshot on the rebound.
Liam Austin-Slade volleyed wide from a tight-angle and Hilfiker saved well again, this time from Joe Benn, in a flurry of early openings for the visitors.
Connah Gardner-Lowe fired over the bar with a speculative shot from distance at the other end in the best of Wickers first half opportunities.
Eric Wedge-Bull forced another good save from the Wickers keeper and went close again with a header from Joseph Benn’s free-kick.
Ross Myers flashed a shot wide with McKenzie doing likewise for Wickers shortly before the break.
The match petered out into a scrappy midfield contest after the interval, but there was still time for a glaring miss.
Wickers had found clear cut openings few and far between, but their best one arrived on the hour mark.
Ben Presslie latched onto Jack Piner’s through ball with only Aaron Stenning to beat, though, he failed to connect properly and poked the ball wide from close range.
SOUTHWICK: Hilfiker; Tucker, Dunk, Cook, Lansdale; Smith, Huilditch; Myers, Piner, Gardener-Lowe; Presslie. Subs: McLennan (Lansdale, 43), Neal (Hilditch, 66), Joe Bidwell (Tucker, 73), Watts.
MILE OAK: A. Stenning; Early, Pollard, Stevens, Hall; Austin-Slade, Wedge-Bull, E.Benn; J.Benn, McKenzie, Gould. Subs: Arnold (Wedge-Bull, 58), Seltzer (McKenzie, 70), Burnett, Gillingham, J.Stenning.
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