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Fabulous Fabio fires 95th minute winner as Hungerford score two late goals to beat local rivals Swindon Supermarine





Fabio Lopes struck a 95th minute winner as Hungerford Town scored two late goals to come from 2-1 down and beat local rivals Swindon Supermarine 3-2.

Portuguese-born Lopes has endured a challenging campaign on and off the pitch but capped an impressive performance with an emotional added time winner after Elis Watts had drawn the home side level with a venomous equaliser in the 88th minute.

Supermarine, who arrived at Bulpit Lane on a run of eight wins in their last 11, twice led. The visitors went ahead thanks to a spectacular half-volley from frontman Dave Sims-Burgess after 32 minutes but were pegged back by a Conor McDonagh penalty three minutes into the second half before restoring their lead following Levi Irving’s 70th minute diving header.

Fabio Lopes’ added time strike fired Hungerford Town to a dramatic 3-2 victory over Swindon Supermarine. Pictures by Phil Cannings
Fabio Lopes’ added time strike fired Hungerford Town to a dramatic 3-2 victory over Swindon Supermarine. Pictures by Phil Cannings
The outstanding Fabio Lopes celebrates his 95th minute winner
The outstanding Fabio Lopes celebrates his 95th minute winner

Hungerford had looked to be staring a third successive defeat in the face but, after Danny Robinson changed his side’s shape, introducing Great Evans and going two up front, the hosts turned the game around in remarkable fashion, prompting passionate celebrations throughout a boisterous Bulpit Lane.

Great Evans made a difference after coming on with the home side 2-1 down
Great Evans made a difference after coming on with the home side 2-1 down

Robinson lived up to his promise to make changes following Town’s 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Plymouth Parkway last weekend. The biggest surprise was his decision to drop veteran goalkeeper Ryan Clarke for Nicky Harvey, while Jack Stanley started at right back and Matt Berry-Hargreaves, who captained the side, partnered Jack Wright in the heart of defence. Skipper Rhys Tyler was on crutches after breaking his ankle in training on Tuesday night and is expected to miss at least eight weeks while Babs Jarra was dropped to the bench.

With tough-tackling midfielder Joe Shepherd still out after picking up 10 yellow cards, Fabio Lopes was preferred to new man Jacob Gardiner-Smith as the hosts lined up with an extremely forward-thinking midfield three of Lopes, Brad Hooper – who made almost 200 appearances for Marine and was one of five Hungerford players with links to the visitors – and Sam De St Croix.

Hungerford actually made the brighter start to the game but it was Supermarine, who have been a team transformed since the appointment of Stuart Fleetwood in September, who created the better chances and forced the first save from either goalkeeper when Nick Harvey turned visiting captain Jamie Edge’s half-volley over the bar.

The visitors should have gone ahead on the half hour mark when youngster Levi Irving blazed over from a promising position but Marine didn’t have to wait much longer and took the lead in the 32nd minute when the excellent Dave Sims-Burgess volleyed a spectacular strike into the top right-hand corner to make it 1-0.

Town had failed to really test 20-year-old goalkeeper Conor Brann in the first 45 but were given a golden chance to equalise two minutes into the second half when a cross from the right deflected off Adulai Sambu and onto a Supermarine arm before the referee pointed to the penalty spot; it was a little harsh given the defender’s proximity to Sambu, but the visitors were not especially vigorous in their complaints. Conor McDonagh, who had been kept quiet by Supermarine’s impressive centre-halves up to that point, stepped up and sent Brann the wrong way from the spot, rifling his strike high and to the left to level the scores.

Conor McDonagh made it 1-1 with a penalty at the beginning of the second half
Conor McDonagh made it 1-1 with a penalty at the beginning of the second half

The Crusaders were beginning to dominate and marauding full-back Ramarni Medford-Smith lashed an effort against the crossbar in the 62nd minute but a spirited Supermarine restored their lead with 20 minutes of normal time remaining when Levi Irving dived to head Sam Tull’s cross into the roof of the net; Town, apparently disputing something in the build-up, appeared to switch off entirely defensively.

Ramarni Medford-Smith struck the crossbar in the second half
Ramarni Medford-Smith struck the crossbar in the second half

Boss Danny Robinson made three changes in personnel, bringing on Great Evans and then, a few minutes later, Jacob Gardiner-Smith and Jack Alexander. Adulai Sambu, Brad Hooper and Sam De St Croix were all sacrificed as the home side switched to a 4-1-3-2 formation with Evans partnering McDonagh.

Roared on by an increasingly lively contingent of supporters behind the goal, Town, who regained the upper hand after the changes, grabbed an equaliser in the 88th minute when Elis Watts lashed a low strike into the bottom left-hand corner to make it 2-2.

With five minutes added on following a prickly and full-blooded contest the home side pressed for a winner and McDonagh saw his shot saved at the near post with no more than two minutes remaining.

Yet there was still time for a decisive moment of drama as Jack Alexander’s long throw caused chaos in the box before the ball fell to the outstanding Lopes, who drilled a sucker-punch through a crowd of defenders and in to fire Hungerford into the lead for the first time.

Fabio Lopes celebrates with Jack Wright
Fabio Lopes celebrates with Jack Wright

The hosts had to defend one final hopeful ball into their box, with nine Marine outfielders and goalkeeper Conor Brann all crowding the area, but held firm to win for the first time in three matches.

Hungerford, who move back into the play-offs after AFC Totton drew 1-1 with Gosport Borough, travel to third-from-bottom Hayes and Yeading, who haven’t won in 12 league matches, on Saturday.



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