Flackwell Heath beaten at home by New Salamis despite Driffill's late strike

Flackwell Heath's hopes of forcing their way back into the promotion picture suffered another setback on Saturday, as they were beaten 2-1 at home by New Salamis at a freezing cold Wilks Park.

The hosts came into the clash off the back of their disappointing FA Vase defeat to Guildford City the previous weekend but having lost just once in the league since Chris Ayres and Paul Shone took over from Marcus Richardson.

Each of the three defeats suffered since Ayres took over has been by a single goal, and this one was no different with the visitors firing themselves into a two-goal advantage in the first half before Fabian Driffill scored to give the home side hope late on.

Victory was enough to lift New Salamis up to third in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division, five points behind second placed Risborough Rangers and seven adrift of leaders Leighton Town, who they have five matches in hand over.

On the first real bitterly cold afternoon of the season, Flackwell failed to warm to the task at hand. Salamis struck the bar with their first effort of the game and, although Sam Coles flashed a shot narrowly wide for Heath early on, the visitors edged in front in the 28th minute.

Anthony Furlonge was the man to get their opener, reacting well to stab the ball home after the ball bounced off the Flackwell post in a goalmouth scramble.

Their second followed five minutes before the break, a beautiful curling effort from outside the box by Harrison Georgiou which had Heathens' keeper Isaac Hay beaten all ends up.

Having won 10 of their 14 league matches coming into the contest, New Salamis know how to grind out a result and they showed this with a disciplined display in the second half.

Their composure was briefly ruffled when Jamie Essex headed the ball back across goal for Driffill to score in the 86th minute, but the hosts struggled to carve out another clear-cut chance and the visitors held on for all three points. The result leaves Heath 10th in the table on 22 points ahead of their next league game at Ardley United on Saturday.

They also host Sandhurst Town in the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup tomorrow night (Tuesday), 7.45pm kick-off.

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