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Ben Marlow scores long-range winner in added time as Bishop's Stortford beat Lewes 1-0 in Isthmian Premier



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Ben Marlow scored a dramatic long-range winner in added time as 10-man Bishop's Stortford claimed a huge 1-0 win at Lewes on Saturday (March 19).

The midfielder, who came off the bench in the 59th minute, beat out-of-position Rooks goalkeeper Lewis Carey with a shot from around 40 yards to earn the second-placed Blues all three points against their fellow promotion chasers.

The victory, which firmly cements the Blues in the top five with six games remaining, was secured despite Jack Thomas being sent off in the second half for two bookings.

Ben Marlow fires in a long-range winner for the Blues at Lewes. Picture: Nathan Cracknell (55568251)
Ben Marlow fires in a long-range winner for the Blues at Lewes. Picture: Nathan Cracknell (55568251)

Steve Smith's men, who beat leaders Worthing 3-0 at home last Tuesday (March 15), are now 11 points clear of sixth-placed Lewes in the Pitching In Isthmian League, Premier Division as they extended their unbeaten run to 13 games with an eighth consecutive clean sheet.

Elsewhere in the promotion race, table-topping Worthing maintained their 10-point lead over the Blues with a 3-0 success at Potters Bar Town. There were also wins for third-placed Enfield Town and fifth-placed Hornchurch over Corinthian-Casuals and Merstham respectively, but Folkestone Invicta, who sit fourth, were thrashed 4-0 at home by Cheshunt.

Stortford manager Smith made three changes to the side that started against Worthing, with Anthony Church, Frankie Merrifield and Ollie Peters coming in for Marlow, Chris Harris and Ryan Charles.

The travelling Stortford fans had a great day out. Picture: Nathan Cracknell (55568255)
The travelling Stortford fans had a great day out. Picture: Nathan Cracknell (55568255)

The Blues thought they had taken a fourth-minute lead in front of a 977-strong crowd - the largest of the day in the division - when Darren Foxley turned in Merrifield's strike, but it was ruled out for offside.

They had another good chance to go ahead in the 20th minute, but unmarked defender Billy Cracknell headed wide of the upright from 12 yards having been found by Jonny Giles at a set piece.

The hosts' best chance of the first half fell to Razz Coleman De-Graft, who was denied by a brilliant diving save from Jack Giddens.

Stortford had another goal disallowed for offside 10 minutes after the break when Merrifield put the ball in the net from Foxley's flick.

Ben Marlow celebrates his dramatic winning goal at the Dripping Pan. Picture: Nathan Cracknell (55568253)
Ben Marlow celebrates his dramatic winning goal at the Dripping Pan. Picture: Nathan Cracknell (55568253)

With 78 minutes on the clock, Thomas beat his man down the left and sent in a low cross for substitute Harris, but the striker could not get the required connection and shot-stopper Carey saved easily.

A minute later, the Blues were reduced to 10 men when Thomas picked up his second yellow card for a foul on Michael Klass in the middle of the park.

But it was the visitors who went on to win the contest as, two minutes into the four minutes of added time, Marlow picked the ball up close to the centre circle and, having spotted the goalkeeper out of position, beat Carey from distance to register his fourth goal of the campaign in incredible fashion.

Next up for the Blues is a trip to 17th-placed Wingate & Finchley this Saturday (March 26).

Lewes: Carey, Spencer, Carlse, Salmon, Nelson, Pettit, Maloney (Klass, 46min), Pritchard (booked, 81), De-Graft (Yao, 75), Dalling, Taylor. Not used: Hall.

Blues: Giddens, Church (booked, 84min), Robbins, Henshaw, Giles, Merrifield (Harris, 66), Renee, Jack Thomas (booked, 67 & 79; sent off, 79), Foxley (Marlow, 59; booked, 70), Peters (Charles, 59), Cracknell (booked, 10). Not used: Edwards, Haines.

Attendance: 977.



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