SUPER-SUB Ethan Hanks provided stoppage-time drama as Fairfield Villa edged Hampton 1-0 in Midland Football League Division Two.
The forward provided a moment of quality while his wearied teammates could only watch on and observe his sublime turn and finish inside the box, winning a game that appeared to be petering out into a stalemate.
It was Fairfield’s third win of the season, and their first since September following a run of fixture postponements, lifting them into 12th after ten games played.
Having already beaten Hampton 3-0 in August, Keith Draper’s men travelled to Field Lane last Saturday with hopes of replicating their previous success.
Achieving such a feat was not so straightforward on a difficult playing surface that prevented the Swans from playing attacking football. Instead, commitment and graft was the order of the day from two sides determined to improve their standing in the bottom half of the table.
Hampton struck the woodwork with a free header in what proved to be the best chance of the opening half, while Fairfield midfielder Chris Hill departed the pitch having suffered an eye injury.
The second period was played out in a similar vein to the first, with no clearcut chances of note as the game headed into the third minute of stoppage time. Then up-stepped Hanks to pull off a stunning piece of skill and pick out the bottom corner of the net.
A difficult test awaits on Saturday (2pm) when Fairfield welcome sixth-placed visitors FC Stratford to the Recreation Ground.