Enzo Benn got the only goal as Mile Oak Football Club made it back-to-back Southern Combination League Division 1 victories on Saturday.
With the game looking to be heading for a draw, Enzo Benn netted nine minutes from the end to help Oak to a 1-0 home success over Bexhill United.
With league leaders Little Common losing at third-placed Steyning Town, Mile Oak ensured they kept the pressure on the teams above them. Following this victory, only three points separate them in fourth and Little Common at the top.
Mile Oak boss Ben Shoulders was relieved to see Enzo Benn’s late strike take the points for his side and said: “It was a massive win for the lads. We dominated most of the game but I was starting to think it could be one of those days.
“Fortunately, Enzo grabbed the winner and as I said it was a crucial win for us.
“Little Common dropping points just brings everyone back into it again. It’s so close with three points separating the top four, so every game is massive now.”
Oak started well and Michael Gould headed a Remi Coates cross wide after ten minutes.
Gould then slipped in Liam Austin-Slade five minutes later but his first-time delivery was headed wide by Eric Wedge-Bull.
Oak were nearly made to pay for those misses as Bexhill had a great chance on 20 minutes. Drew Grennall rounded Mile Oak stand-in goalkeeper Karl Gillingham but Lee Early got back to clear the danger.
More chances came for the home side before the break as Enzo Benn headed over, then Coates blazed wide after being picked out at the back post.
Bexhill had the ball in the net on the hour only for the linesman to flag for offside as it remained scoreless.
Oak continued to apply the pressure and Austin-Slade went close to breaking the deadlock 20 minutes from time. He was given too much time on the edge of the penalty area but his strike came back out off the crossbar.
Mile Oak’s persistence was finally rewarded with a goal nine minutes from the end.
Daniel Rose in Bexhill’s goal dropped what looked to be a routine catch and Enzo Benn was on hand to slot into an empty net.
Mile Oak stood firm in the final few minutes to ensure they continued their winning start in 2017.
Next up for Mile Oak is a trip to fifth-placed East Preston on Saturday.
Currently, just a point separates the two teams but EP have two games in hand.
Mile Oak manager Shoulders is going into it wanting nothing less than all three points.
He added: “This will be a huge game against East Preston. We’ll be looking to win it, we have to if we want to stay in the thick of it at the top. “
MILE OAK: Gillingham; Early, Pollard, Stevens, Hall; E.Benn, J.Benn, Wedge-Bull; Coates, Gould, Austin-Slade. Subs: J.Stenning (Coates), Khan (Wedge-Bull), Symes (Hall).
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