Hartley Wintney look to complete great escape

Basingstoke Gazette: Ryan Stephens netted twice as Hartley drew with Wembley on Tuesday. Ryan Stephens netted twice as Hartley drew with Wembley on Tuesday.

HARTLEY Wintney are off the bottom of the Combined Counties League Premier Division after taking a remarkable 13 points from their last six games.

Goals from Ashley Lloyd and Shane Hollamby gave the village side a 2-0 win away at fellow strugglers Colliers Wood last Thursday, a result that made it four wins in a row for Hartley and moved them off the foot of the table for the first time in several months.

Ben Dillon’s side were made to pay for a slow start away at high-flying Cove on Saturday, finding themselves 3-0 down after just 18 minutes on the way to a 4-1 defeat, with Ryan Stephens netting a late consolation.

However, they bounced back well, holding mid-table Wembley to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday night. Wembley took the lead after 20 minutes but Stephens levelled from the penalty-spot on 70 minutes.

Visiting Hartley suffered a setback when the hosts regained the lead with 10 minutes to go – but they fought back to claim a point, Stephens firing in his second of the game to equalise late on.

The village side face another two games this week, hosting Farnham Town on Saturday before travelling to Raynes Park Vale on Tuesday night – and Dillon is hoping that his side can maintain their remarkable run of form.

“It’s great to be off the bottom and everyone is buzzing in the camp,” he said. “Hopefully we can push on now. It’s really tight down there so we have to keep it going and pick up as many points as we can.

“At the moment it’s going well and it’s in our hands. We have some hard games to come but if we can beat the teams around us, hopefully we can get out of trouble.”

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