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Staines Town 3-2 Salisbury City
Whites: Puddy, Clarke, Dutton (c), Hart, Brett, Lewis, Clark (Udoji 55), McPhee, Sinclair, White (Clarke 42, Preen 70), Matthews
Subs not used: Scott, Baggridge
Scorer: Brett (86, 89)
SALISBURY CITY’S heroic comeback was ripped apart at the death, as they were condemned to their second defeat of the season at Wheatsheaf Park.
But despite the loss, the Whites stay at the summit of Conference South on goal difference.
In a pulsating affair, Staines jumped into a 13th minute lead through David Wheeler’s drilled effort from an acute angle. And Tony Garrod doubled the hosts’ advantage soon after with a fortuitous penalty.
And the Whites’ afternoon took a tumble for the worse when Jamie White came hobbling off with a fractured finger.
Against the odds City came fighting back and although they squandered a few chances, Ryan Brett made an important one count through bundling the ball home in the 86th minute to set up a grandstand finale.
Three minutes later the comeback was complete as Brett poked home the equaliser from Stuart Sinclair’s swerving corner.
But in the final minute of injury time, City sluggishly switched off and allowed substitute Louie Theophanous to produce a silky turn and rifle home a dramatic match-winner into the bottom corner.
Boss Darrell Clarke said: “I’m absolutely devastated.
“We kicked ourselves in the foot by giving a couple of sloppy goals away.
“Nine times out of ten you play that football and win comfortably, so I’m not going to be too critical on my players.
“The lads showed effort, endeavor, and willingness to get back into it. But it’s about quickly bouncing back.
“We were a lot better than our opposition. The only reason why they were winning in the second-half was because we didn’t take our chances to get back in the game – we were in control the majority of the first-half.
“But for whatever reason, things didn’t fall into place, but we’ll look to get it right Tuesday night."
The Whites has everything to play for when they welcome fellow high-fliers Dorchester Town to the Ray Mac tomorrow night (7:45pm).
“We’ve played nine games and we’re still joint top of the league and now the focus is Tuesday night’s big derby game."