Mitchell Hand toasted Littlehampton Town Football Club’s first Southern Combination League Premier Division victory since February and claimed: “We’re in with a huge chance of avoiding relegation now.”
Goals from Lee Garnham, substitute Lucas Pattenden - who netted with his first touch - and Grant Thetford’s penalty fired Golds to what could prove to be a crucial 3-1 win over Worthing United at Steyning Town FC’s Shooting Field home on Tuesday.
Littlehampton Town have won just two of the 13 matches since interim manager Hand took charge back in January but are still in with a shout of avoiding relegation this season.
A vital victory over Mavericks saw Golds close the gap on place-above Arundel to two points, though, they have played three matches more.
Hand’s troops, who still have five games to play this season, stand more of a chance of catching third from bottom Hassocks.
Golds have two games in hand on Robins and the difference between the two teams is six points at present.
The pressure was on Littlehampton heading to face Worthing United, with Hand admitting it was must-win in the build-up, but he was delighted that his team delivered.
“I was really pleased with the boys. They worked for each other and, with the quality we have in the side, we always knew if we worked hard enough we could get a result.
“It gives us a huge chance now and makes for an interesting battle at the bottom. We are still massive underdogs but surprising people is what Littlehampton do best.”
Golds got off to a perfect start, finding themselves ahead inside 12 minutes.
Player-manager Mitchell Hand’s corner was powered on off the head of Garnham.
Littlehampton’s lead lasted all of three minutes, with Lindon Miller levelling things up.
The scores remained level until the introduction of Golds’ Pattenden at the interval.
Less than two minutes after being sent on, forward Pattenden found the net to give his side the lead for a second time on the night.
Golds would not let their advantage slip this time and wrapped up all three points on the hour.
Striker Charlie Pitcher was felled in the area by a Mavericks player, with a spot-kick awarded. Thetford slammed the penalty home - making it two goals in as many matches - to fire Hand’s team to a 3-1 victory.
Littlehampton will be looking to build on the momentum built from this win when they make the trip to Eastbourne Town on Saturday.
LITTLEHAMPTON TOWN: Collins; Packer, Storrie, Farrell, O’Hagan, Garnham, Thetford, Janman, Pitcher, M.Hand, Kempson. Subs: Chaplin, Herbert, D.Hand, Pattenden, Whiteley.