Bees Bostik Bound
By Richard Barrett
Bowers bags Golden Boot award with last gasp winner
Basildon United secured second place in the Essex Senior League with a late, late victory against Redbridge at The Ho-Ho Stadium and with it promotion to the Bostik League Division One North.
Jack Adlington and Marcus Bowers had early chances for The Bees, but it soon became clear that Redbridge, who themselves had been in the promotion race right up until last weekend, had no intention of making life easy for their hosts.
Redbridge enjoyed large chunks of possession and could easily have taken the lead on 25 minutes when Thomas Gogo's shot cannoned back off of the crossbar and the same was true with five minutes to go until the half time interval as a further chance was cleared off the line when a goal seemed inevitable.
Into the second half and it was more of the same as Remi Nelson's shot was brilliantly saved by Connor Wheatley in the Basildon goal and moments later another good chance was blazed over.
Gradually The Bees worked their way back into the game, but chances were still at a premium.
With time beginning to run out, manager, Marc Harrison, made three attacking changes bringing on Charlie Kendall, Jack Renew and James Peagram and the fresh legs gave the home side fresh impetus.
It looked as if time had run out though as the game entered the final stages. That was until Renew was upended on the edge of the Redbridge area on 89 minutes to give Basildon a free kick in a dangerous area. The anticipation in the ground, in front of a seasons best attendance of 339, was almost tangible as Marcus Bowers stepped up and he superbly curled the ball around the wall to fire The Bees into the lead and claim the league Golden Boot award ahead of Redbridge's Brian Moses.
There followed a period of five minutes of injury time that must have felt like an eternity to the Basildon players and fans, but the full time whistle came and The Bees could begin to celebrate a return to the Isthmian League for the first time since 1991.