HAILSHAM Town secured the minimum point they needed to earn promotion straight back to Division One at the first attempt on Saturday – and they did it in style with this 5-0 thumping win.
Oakwood visited a damp Beaconsfield on Saturday, with Hailsham Town going into the game knowing they would need just a draw to guareatee a top three finish in Sussex County Two.
It was a bright start for Town, and, after 12 minutes, they took take the lead – Shane Saunders flicking on for Danny Leach to fire home from close range.
The Stringers had the ball in the net again minutes later, when Ryan Alexander’s close range finish was adjudged to have been scored from an offside position, whilst at the other end, a poor finish prevented the visitors from levelling.
With time ticking away in the first half, Hailsham did score again when an excellent Alexander cross was met by the head of the diving Saunders.
Saunders scored his second just after the break – the striker chasing onto a ball through the middle to prod the ball beyond the onrushing Oakwood keeper.
Hailsham were enjoying a fine game, especially out wide, with the busy Jamie Salvidge in particular a danger. The winger would get on the scoresheet himself on 63 minutes – Alexander again the provider with the cross, and Salvidge running in to meet the ball with a powerful far post header.
The Stringers continued to pressurise on an increasingly slippery pitch – sub Ben Billings heading against the bar – but on 79 minutes the day would be capped with Saunders’ third and Hailsham’s fifth of the afternoon. Great work from Leach, saw him take the ball around the keeper before returning the favour of the first goal, unselfishly squaring for Saunders to slide in from close range.
Shane’s second hat-trick of the week – following Town’s 4-1 win over Bexhill United the previous Tuesday – takes him up to 20 league goals for the season, whilst Leach’s early finish sees him draw level with East Preston’s George Gaskin at the top of the goalscoring charts on 32.
With promotion now sealed, Hailsham will hope to continue their recent fine form this Saturday, with Midhurst & Easebourne the visitors to a – hopefully drier! – Beaconsfield.
TOWN: Tanner, Dean Stevens, Ottley, Riddiford, Lewis, Alexander, Salvidge, Richardson (Skan 70), Leach, Saunders (Cavalier 80), Dallaway (Billings 60). Unused Sub: Jacob Stevens.