Late penalty gives Fleetlands dramatic victory over Hampshire Premier League title challengers Denmead
Denmead would have gone top if they had avoided defeat at Lederle Lane.
Instead, they suffered a 2-1 defeat which leaves leaders Moneyfields Reserves, who hold two games in hand on Denmead, as undoubted title favourites.
Defender Dan Clasby, up for a corner, gave Fleetlands a half-time lead.
Lewis Crook levelled shortly into the second half, with the Coptermen’s winning spot-kick arriving in the last 10 minutes.
Denmead keeper Darren Joseph was penalised for a foul on Fleetlands sub George Gregory - on at half-time for Callum Dart - and Easton did the rest.
Both clubs have applied for promotion to the Wessex League, and it could be that whoever finishes higher gets the nod.
Denmead are still in a strong position, 13 points ahead of Fleetlands - but the latter have three games in hand and play Paul Goddard’s men again at Front Lawn in a fortnight’s time.
Fleetlands, though, are now above Stockbridge - the third HPL club to have applied for Wessex promotion - on goal difference with both teams having eight games remaining.
Clubs have to finish in the top five to be considered for promotion, and Colden Common would knock Stockbridge down to sixth and Fleetlands to fifth if they won one of their two games in hand.
‘It was a fully deserved win,’ said Fleetlands co-boss Dan Greenwood regarding what was only Denmead’s second league defeat in 23 matches.
Asked if it was the best display in his few months at the club, he replied: ‘Probably not.
‘We were good in spells, but we need to be better and we need to be a lot more clinical up front.’
Horndean loanee Mark Smith replaced Alpay Ali as the central striker following the shock 3-0 loss at Liss a fortnight earlier.
Ex-Baffins winger Callum Smith and Jamie Wrapson were also recalled to the starting line-up.
Wrapson was on the left side, Dart on the right and Smith in the middle. ‘But they’re always inter-changing,’ explained Greenwood. ‘It’s like having three No 10s.’
Next up for Fleetlands is a trip to relegation-threatened Chamberlayne, before facing Denmead, Locks Heath and Moneyfields in a row.
‘We’re just focusing on the next game,’ declared Greenwood. ‘That’s all we can do.’