LITTLEHAMPTON are still on course for a top-three finish after Saturday's win over 10-man Three Bridges.

Bridges' Stefan Chapman was sent off just before half-time for two bookable offences, and Golds then won with two goals in the second half. On the dismissal, Littlehampton boss Carl Stabler said: "I wouldn't have been happy if one of my players had been sent off for those two bookings. The second one was a booking, but the first yellow card seemed harsh."

Bridges then had half-time to re-adjust, but it took Golds just nine minutes to break the deadlock. Peter Brackley ran down the right-wing, and from his fired cross, ex-East Preston captain Jim Smith could only divert the ball into his own net.

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The victory was sealed with 16 minutes remaining when Grant Vanson struck his seventh goal of the season. Daren Pearce and Paul Williams held the ball up well before finding Vanson who drilled his 20-yard shot into the top corner.

Lee Gibbs had Golds' first chance of the game after just five minutes, but pulled the ball back instead of shooting.

Phil Churchill also forced Bridges' keeper Alan Mansfield into two excellent saves, and Daren Pearce was also denied by Mansfield, but Golds could have found themselves behind early on.

Stabler said: "They had two great chances, but both looked miles offside. If they had scored them and gone 2-0 up, it would have been very hard for us to have got back into the match.

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"I was very pleased with the team's attitude and desire, as I have had a few moans about it this season.

"But, we've been in the top-three all season, which is quite an achievement as we were only promoted from Division 2 last year."

The win gains revenge of sorts on Bridges after they knocked Golds out of the FA Vase and John O'Hara Cup earlier in the season.

Striker Jonas Templeman was unavailable on Saturday, while fellow-forwards Mark Price and Jan Miller have both left the club. Price has joined rock-bottom Division 2 side Peace-haven, while Miller has gone to local-rivals Wick.

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On the injury front, Stabler expects defender Stuart Hack to be out for the rest of the season. Fellow defender Scott Hinshelwood has started training, but is still around four weeks away from returning, while midfielder Lee Barnard could be back in contention in three weeks.

Littlehampton are at home to Hassocks on Saturday.

LITTLEHAMPTON: Bryant; Williams, Hazell, McCallum, Young, M.Hinshelwood; Brackley, Pearce, Vanson, Gibbs; Churchill. Subs: Rayner (Gibbs 75), Windsor (Churchill 80), West (Brackley 85), Ben Torode, Brett Torode.

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