FOOTBALL: Struggling Forest pull off shock Harlow victory (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Waltham Forest boost hopes of Ryman North survival with shock 1-0 win over Harlow Town; Waltham Abbey win and Redbridge draw
Updated 12:15pm Wednesday 12th March 2014 in Sport
Waltham Forest, rooted to the bottom of Ryman North, turned the league table upside down on Saturday as they beat third-placed Harlow Town 1-0 at home to keep their survival hopes alive.
The Stags went into the game having not won a league match this calendar year while Harlow, despite some poor form recently, are still in the hunt for promotion.
The win means Forest are now within touching distance of the teams immediately above them albeit having played more games.
The hosts’ new centre-back pairing of Miguel Pascal-Johnson and Frantz Techenang Ngassa performed excellently throughout the match but Forest were by no means on the back foot.
A decent spell of pressure paid dividends in the 33rd minute when Harlow failed to clear a corner and Pascal-Johnson reacted fastest in the box to shoot into the bottom left-hand corner.
Harlow pressed in the second period but their threat was largely restricted to set-pieces as Forest held on for a morale-boosting victory.
There were no surprises however, last Thursday when the Stags were beaten 4-1 at leaders VCD Athletic.
Lee Craig and Alfie May put the home side two up after 17 minutes and, while Forest captain Leon Fisher pulled one back before half-time, two late goals from Karl Dent and Nicholas Reeves ensured Athletic took all three points.
When the East London Guardian Series went to press, Forest were set to host Chatham Town last night (Wednesday) before a trip to fellow strugglers Brentwood Town on Saturday.
Redbridge drew 1-1 at home to Heybridge Swifts on Tuesday night and had Dean Driscoll to thank after the goalkeeper saved a late penalty to ensure the spoils were shared.
The Motormen were thrashed 8-0 and 11-0 in their last two outings and fears of another drubbing may not have been far away when Debemi Dumaka put the visitors in front after just 12 minutes.
Redbridge kept their composure though, and equalised before half-time when a neat exchange between Daniel Francis and Ben Bradbury teed up Kurt Smith to drive home.
As the game entered its final stages, both sides pushed forward for a winner and it looked like Swifts had found it when Chris Bryan was brought down in the box by Tyron Thomas and the referee gave a penalty.
Swifts substitute Robert King stepped up but his shot was denied by a superb diving save from Driscoll, who then pulled off an even better stop to block the rebound.
There was more late drama for Redbridge on Saturday but this time it was in the opposition’s favour as Witham Town scored an injury-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
Smith was again on target for the Motormen but Kristopher Newby’s late goal denied the home side taking all three points.
Redbridge, who are 13th in the table, take on Tilbury away from home tonight (Thursday) before travelling to Dereham Town on Saturday.
Waltham Abbey twice came from behind against Tilbury on Saturday to clinch a thrilling 3-2 win.
All five goals were scored in the first half and four of them came in the space of eight minutes.
Joe Obersteller and then Piers Wixon put the home side in front but Abbey’s Joseph Pearman and Bradley Barnes pegged Tilbury back to make it 2-2 after 23 minutes.
The Abbotts took the lead themselves shortly before half-time as Thomas Bruno found the net for what proved to be the decisive goal.
Abbey, who are 17th in the table, were held to a goalless draw at home to Brentwood Town last Thursday.
Paul Wickenden’s men are due to host Romford tonight (Thursday) before entertaining high-flying Soham Town Rangers on Saturday.