Battling Brockenhurst secure hard-fought win over Baffins Milton Rovers
Baffins Milton Rovers FC 0
Brockenhurst FC 1
A LATE goal from Brockenhurst's Kieran O'Donnell helped the Badgers keep their promotion bid on track with three points against Baffins Milton Rovers.
The victory made it three league wins in a row, with Patrick McManus's depleted side now sitting level on points with fourth-placed Horndean.
Neither side dominated the early stages, with the best chance falling to O'Donnell, whose effort flew just wide after the ball bounced in the box.
The hosts went close after 32 minutes when Rudi Blankson played in Jason Parish, but stand-in keeper Matty Taylor saved the striker's effort comfortably before Owen Pelham clattered the ball off the post.
After the break, the hosts looked odds on to score, with several chances. However, decent saves, poor finishing or pure luck kept the Badgers' clean sheet intact.
Then, with 73 minutes played, Brockenhurst found the breakthrough when O'Donnell pounced on a defensive mistake to slot past keeper Konrad Szymaniak.
Baffins continued to threaten, but Christie Ward, on his 50th appearance for the club, came close to putting the gloss on the victory in the final minute minutes A superb challenge from Harvey Wellham kept the Brockenhurst nerves jangling until the final whistle.
After the match, Brockenhurst manager McManus said: "Today was always going to be tough with personnel missing and a gale blowing through the ground.
"Everyone was excellent, though, with some good football played in difficult conditions.
"Appreciate the hospitality from Baffins Milton Rovers and wish them well."
Brockenhurst: M. Taylor, J. Stacey, R. Moore, A. Chipangura, J. Chamberlain, S.W. Yang, K. O'Donnell, M. Speechley-Price, S. Obeng, C. Ward, M. Sheedy. Subs: N. Frans, G. Pomeroy, T. Colmer, O. Hicks.