Little goal goes a long way as West Hampstead win promotion again
Mark Little grabbed a last-gasp winner on Saturday as West Hampstead triumphed 2-1 at nearest rivals Lewes to clinch their second successive promotion.
The Brent Cross club, who returned to South League Division Two at the first attempt last year, cannot be denied a top-two finish after Little’s strike earned them victory in Sussex.
WH weathered an early spell of pressure before Tom Kimberley gave them the lead with a skilful finish midway through the first half, but Matt Clark levelled for the home side soon afterwards.
West Hampstead coach Chris Rowholt responded with an astute tactical switch at half-time, moving vice-captain Tom Bullock into a deeper role, and the change paid off as the visitors created numerous chances.
Little and Tim Wischusen both wasted opportunities from open play, while Kimberley somehow pushed the ball wide from three yards with the goal at his mercy.
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When Bullock beat the goalkeeper only to see his effort scrambled off the line, it looked as if West Hampstead would have to be content with a share of the spoils.
But, with two minutes remaining, right-back Rich Brand made a marauding run deep into Lewes territory and the ball broke to Little, who coolly netted from 10 yards.
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“Coaches don’t always get enough credit at this level, but Chris Rowholt deserves praise, not only for this game, but for the season as a whole,” said Bullock.
“It has been a long second half to the season, with all the rearranged games and a good cup run, but the strength in depth of the squad has shown and we are all delighted to have got promoted.”
West Hampstead’s hopes of pipping Oxford Hawks to the title took a knock on Sunday, however, as they were held to a 1-1 draw in a rescheduled game at Wycombe, with Kimberley on target for the visitors.