Mark Maunsell, left, scored five minutes from time to secure a 2-1 win for Winchester at South League Premier Division 2 rivals West Hampstead.
Winchester looked to have paid the penalty for their first half profligacy when the Middlesex hosts cancelled out Ben Hibberd’s strike, but the city side finished strong to win.
New skipper Chris Jackson reflected: “We probably should have been 2-0 up going into half-time, but it wasn’t to be and as such we needed to come out fighting in the second half.
“I was really impressed with the way the side approached the second 35 minutes and was relieved we were able to get the winner five minutes from the end to clinch the points.”
West Hampstead edged a typically scrappy opening period and forced goalkeeper Ali Birch into fine smart save, down to his left-hand side.
The introduction of Jacob Hibberd from the bench added an element of composure to Winchester’s midfield and provided the structure the visitors needed to get their noses in front.
It was soon after Hibberd came on that Adam Tollefson sent a delightful line ball to player/coach Ben Hibberd, who rounded the Hampstead ‘keeper and finished in style with a reverse stick shot into the net.
It was not all one way as just before half-time West Hampstead would find themselves back on level terms as Winchester’s floundering defensive unit would gift Ed Perry a goal.
A ball hit in from the 25 yard line bounced through a series of sticks, before a rash challenge occurred and a penalty flick was awarded and duly despatched by Perry.
Winchester snared the points late on, with Maunsell making amends for a first half miss, latching on to a scuffed Hibberd shot and deflecting the ball home for the winner.
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