Tudors pounce late at Eastbourne to move into the playoff places

The Tudors players celebrate another huge win. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard
The Tudors players celebrate another huge win. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Hemel Town took another step towards the National League South playoffs as Ben Herd headed home a stoppage time winner at Eastbourne Borough on Saturday.

The 3-2 victory moved the Tudors up into fifth place, with a game in hand on fellow playoff hopefuls Maidenhead United and Dartford.

Ben Herd pounced late to secure the three points. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Ben Herd pounced late to secure the three points. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

The game started at a bright and sometimes frantic pace as Graeme Montgomery and Jack Kelly each skied chances over the bar for the Tudors, but Eastbourne had more of the ball.

Goalkeeper Lewis Carey’s massive kick sent Darren Lok racing beyond the Hemel defence, but Jamie Butler’s alert goalkeeping denied him.

Then Butler went full length to push Craig Stone’s power drive past the left post, and two minutes later Sam Beale’s curling free-kick was knocked back across goal by Stone but bounced just wide.

At the other end, Morgan Ferrier – who formed an impressive strike pairing with Ibra Sekajja – diverted Ollie Thorne’s wayward shot against the crossbar, but otherwise the momentum was with Eastbourne.

Gavin McCallum was sent off for Eastbourne. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Gavin McCallum was sent off for Eastbourne. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Four minutes before half-time came the breakthrough as Gavin McCallum expertly dispossessed full-back Herd and drilled in a low cross which Lok turned into the goal for 1-0.

The furious visitors came out of the dressing room with renewed vigour, and on 55 minutes a slick move found Ferrier free on the right of the area and he drove a low shot across Carey to equalise.

Less than two minute later the Tudors were ahead. Borough defended indecisively as a ball came in from the left and Sekajja’s slightly mishit, tumbling shot sneaked past a wrong-footed Carey into the bottom right corner.

Borough steadily got their balance back, and on 84 minutes Nathaniel Pinney and Kiran Khinda-John combined on the right, and the cross reached substitute Nathan Collier, whose header looped over a Butler and squeezed under the crossbar to level the scores.

Ibra Sekajja scored Hemel's second goal. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Ibra Sekajja scored Hemel's second goal. Picture (c) Terry Rickeard

Eastbourne were reduced to 10 men soon afterwards when McCullum was shown a second yellow card for a reflex handball, and it was Hemel who would go on to snatch the win.

The Priory Lane clock moved past the 90-minute mark, but there was still time for one final twist as a wide-right free-kick was superbly headed home by Herd for a massive three points for the Tudors.