Chasing pack closes in on Reds

Goalkeeper Matt Finlay
Goalkeeper Matt Finlay
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SURPRISE back-to-back defeats against Northwood and now Beaconsfield have enabled the Central Division pack to close in on a third-placed Woodford United team which conceded three goals in the last 10 minutes on Saturday.

The Reds’ goals came either side of half-time from a Chris Jackson penalty and, that rarest of commodities, a long-range free-kick direct from goalkeeper Matt Finlay.

Before that Aaron McLeish had headed Beaconsfield into a 20th-minute lead from a free-kick by Paul Robinson.

Jackson then converted his spot-kick for Woodford following a foul on Chris Davies by Ashley James.

Finlay’s amazing goal turned the tide back into Woodford’s favour after 54 minutes but Beaconsfield’s new manager Simon Pullen pulled off a masterstroke with three late substitutions.

An accurate 80th-minute cross from Matt Mooney was headed home by Ricardo Cannon before the same player gave a repeat performance five minutes later as Beaconsfield staged a grand slam finish.

The winner came in the last minute when Richard Shittu tapped in to settle the issue after Carl Gastang’s original shot had been parried by Woodford’s goalkeeper Finlay.

Daventry Town’s home match against Slough Town was called off because of frozen patches on the Communications Park pitch while the Bedworth United-Northwood match also fell victim to the weather.

Unbeaten leaders Hitchin came from behind to beat Atherstone by 3-1 while Arlesey and Aylesbury both came from behind to record 2-1 victories over Barton Rovers and Ashford Town respectively.

Surprise packet Bedfont Town moved into the play-off places on completing a double over AFC Hayes while Ashley Fuller scored twice in Biggleswade’s comfortable 4-1 win at Uxbridge.

A Luke Keen hat-trick helped Rugby Town to an easy 5-1 home win over bottom-of-the-table Soham Town and Burnham were 5-3 winners of a high-scoring game against North Greenford United. Leighton Town and Marlow drew 1-1.