Havering men on promotion high
11:00 23 March 2014
East Div 1: Colchester 1 Havering 3
Havering clinched a return to East Premier B with a final-day win at Colchester.
Second-placed Old Southendians fell to a 2-0 defeat at Bourne Deeping earlier in the day, but the Havering players did not know about that until the end of their own match.
And as the news sunk in, they celebrated wildly after a stunning finale to the season.
The visitors went into the final fixture one point adrift of their promotion rivals and overcame a slow start to claim a deserved win.
Joe Cole produced two diving saves to keep out early Colchester corners, before Havering won their first corner of the afternoon on 11 minutes.
Good work from Connor Poulain forced the set-piece, as Gaz Inrgam saw his drag flick pushed aside by a diving Colchester keeper.
The deadlock was broken on 14 minutes, though, from Havering’s second corner as Ingram stepped to his left at the top of the D and sent a reverse stick strike under the keeper and crashing against the backboard.
Havering might have doubled their lead four minutes later when a good aerial pass from the wily Paul Dover sent Ingram clear, but his reverse was blocked by the pads of the keeper in their battle of wills.
Colchester went close when a shot from the top of the D was deflected wide, but Havering were asking most of the questions, with Stuart Garnell producing a strong run on the left, swapping passes with Chris Dunn and Inrgam, before firing into the side netting.
Poulain deflected an Alastair Lewis hit into the D wide, while good defensive work from Mike Caruana-Smith denied Colchester a reply before the break.
And Havering kept possession well after the restart, only to see Ingram’s shot from a corner ruled out for being too high.
Colchester rallied briefly, firing one chance into the side netting and another across the face of Cole’s goalmouth.
But Havering regained the upper hand when another good run on the left from Garnell saw him link with Dunn to force another corner.
And in a well-rehearsed move, Alex Jupp’s strike was deflected in by player-coach Paul Johnson to make it 2-0.
Havering added a superb third soon after as Garnell combined with Harry Andrews and Dunn, who unselfishly laid on a simple finish for Garnell to tap into a gaping goal.
Colchester replied with a short corner strike, but Havering would not be denied and went closest to adding to the scoreline in the closing stages as Inrgam sent a shot on the turn just wide and Dover deflected a hit from Andrews against the keeper’s pads.
Havering: Cole, Barlow, Andrews, Lewis, Ingram, Jupp, Dunn, O Cipa, Garnell, Dover, Poulain, Johnson, Caruana-Smith, Hall, J Cipa.