Shoreham leave it late to win thriller

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Shoreham Football Club bounced back from Saturday’s heavy home defeat to East Grinstead, with a injury-time victory against Hailsham on Tuesday.

This was a frantic and entertaining affair at Middle Road on a damp evening, but those brave souls who turned up will feel that the entrance fee was money well spent, particularly if they were backing the home side as Mussels came out on top in a seven-goal thriller.

Shoreham took the lead as somehow Jonno Melia wriggled free of his two markers in the corner, headed into the box and squared for makeshift striker Ollie Davis to poke the ball home from seven yards, giving the hosts the lead in the ninth minute.

Dan Leach then found himself in space on the edge of the area and slotted the ball neatly between goalkeeper James Shaw’s legs to make the score level on 22 minutes.

Just six minutes later, Mussels went ahead again as Lee Eastman broke powerfully from midfield only to see his shot tipped onto the bar, but Fionn Bowra was on hand to volley home the rebound.

Parity was restored once more as midfielder Simon Stevens rolled his marker from a throw and scuffed a shot into Shaw’s bottom corner, levelling the scores with five minutes to go until the break.

Shoreham went behind just three minutes after the restart due, in the main, to a terrible piece of officiating as Leach tapped home a Shane Saunders shot from no more than a yard, with the diminutive striker quite clearly offside.

Shoreham did not allow their heads to drop, however, and equalised in the 61st minute as Aaron MacMillan’s free kick from the left-hand corner of the box evaded everyone and snuck in the corner of Harry Duff’s net.

The home side were given the chance to take the lead for the third time in the game as Melia was bundled over in the box and a penalty rightly awarded, only for MacMillan’s effort to be well saved by Duff with five minutes of normal time remaining.

MacMillan redeemed himself with a glancing header from a Fionn Bowra cross in the fourth minute of added time to seal the points, with his 12th goal of the season.

Relieved Mussels manager Mark Burt said: “We played like a team tonight and just about deserved the win in my view. We gave them two sloppy goals in the first half but battled back.

“I’m delighted with the performance and, hopefully, we can take it to Dorking on Saturday.”