A dramatic injury-time winner from skipper David Burton-Jones moved Deeping Rangers up into second spot in the United Counties League Premier Division table after a 2-1 home success over Desborough on Tuesday night.
Burton-Jones struck in the fifth minute of stoppage time to maintain Deeping’s unbeaten home record after a tense tussle against a well organised Ar Tarn side.
That unbeaten record had looked under threat after Will Arnold’s 10th minute opener had given the visitors the initiative for most of the contest.
But Deeping’s persistance finally paid off with just six minutes remaining when full-back Tom Smith struck home a sweet strike to bring the home side level before Burton-Jones’ late show brought maximum reward for Rangers.
Assistant boss Jack Marsden was full of praise for the never-say-die attitude of his charges who have collected 16 points from their last six league games.
Marsden said: “The win summed up the character of our team.
“It didn’t always go our way, but we kept plugging away right until the end and finally got our reward.
“We were quite happy with how things were going at half-time, despite the score, and we told the lads to stay patient.
“They kept trying to play the way we want them to and keep to the philosophies that we believe in.
“We kept banging on the door and really upped it in the last 10 minutes where we got the two goals.
“It was only a matter of time before we scored and I thought we deserved the win. We’re now going into the last 15 games of the season in a position that we really like the look of.”
The visitors had made a lively start to the contest and their 10th minute opener arrived when Arnold found himself time and space in the home box to finish confidently.
Taras Petranyak saw a shot from distance safely gathered by Richard Stainsby in the home goal while Aidan Bradshaw had a curlling effort deflected wide.
Deeping came more into the contest as the game wore as they started to impose their slick passing game on proceedings.
A tidy move created an opening for Burton-Jones whose low shot was expertly tipped away by Desborough goalkeeper Chris Jones.
Luke Hunnings headed narrowly wide from a corner before Burton-Jones split the Desborough defence with a pass that released the overlapping Dan Flack whose low shot was blocked by Jones.
Rangers continued on the offensive after the break with Henry Dunn firing a fierce shot over before a goalmouth scramble saw Jones snatch the ball under pressure.
Flack, who was a constant attacking threat from full-back, brought an athletic save out of Jones before Burton-Jones headed narrowly over as Rangers piled on the pressure.
They finally got their reward with six minutes remaining as left-back Smith weaved his way into the box before unleashing a piledriver that gave Jones no chance.
The momentum was now with Rangers and substitite Dan Schiavi turned a cross goalwards but Desborough managed to scramble clear off the goalline despite Deeping’s protests that the ball had crossed the line.
The elusive winning goal finally arrived in the fifth minute of injury-time as a corner reached Burton-Jones at the back post and he rifled home a memorable winner that leaves Rangers just two points behind league leaders Newport Pagnell but crucially with a game in hand.
Deeping travel to third-from-bottom Sleaford on Saturday while hoping that Desborough can do them a favour as they visit Pagnell this weekend.
Deeping: Stainsby, Flack, Smith, Burton-Jones, Hunnings, Hollis, Coulson (Schiavi), Dunn, Mooney, Coupland (Simpson), Kilbride. Not used: Hamilton, Clay, Bircham.