Published 30th April 2011
....Division One South title on a dramatic final Saturday, pipping Bognor Regis Town by a single goal after both teams finished on ninety-six points.
How Bognor must regret the careless goal they surrendered in added time of their 3-1 home win over Worthing on Easter Monday. Without that, they would have won the title by scoring one more goal than the Police.
Thanks to that goal, however, Bognor had to win at Chatham Town to be sure of the title while the Chats, having taken six points from their Easter programme, themselves needed a win to have a chance of staying up.
And it was Chatham who were first to score when Francis Tshikaya struck on 36 minutes, only for Bognor to draw level 6 minutes later through Jason Prior, who finishes as the league’s top scorer with thirty-eight goals – forty-four in all competitions.
It was a scoreline that satisfied neither side but it was not to change in the second half and Chatham are relegated, while Bognor have to go into the play-offs after O’Flaherty’s 66th minute goal, his first since his move from Whyteleafe, earned the Met a 1-0 home win over Merstham.
O'Flaherty scored from a disputed free-kick 25 yards out but Merstham were the better side on the day and Dean Gunner missed an easy chance to deny Police the title in the last minute.
On Tuesday, Bognor will host Dulwich Hamlet, who came out on top 2-0 in their winner-takes-all game at Walton & Hersham.
Dulwich went into the game holding fifth place with a better goal difference than their hosts, but a drawn game would have allowed Burgess Hill Town to leapfrog the pair of them by beating Ramsgate.
Ethan Pinnock put Hamlet in front 5 minutes before half-time and Gary Drewett added their second in the 52nd minute, leaving Burgess Hill no reason to regret letting their half-time lead slip in a 1-1 draw.
The other issue to be decided was home advantage in the other semi-final between Whitehawk and Leatherehead.
The sides met at Whitehawk with the hosts needing a victory to force their opponents to travel again for the play-off match, also on Tuesday.
Josh Jones put Hawks ahead 4 minutes after half-time but Greg Andrews squared it with a penalty 10 minutes later - his thirty-third league goal and Leatherhead’s 100th of the season.
Only 10 minutes were left when Sam Gargan struck to give Whitehawk a 2-1 win and hosts’ privileges for the rematch. The top four all achieved a century of goals - a first in league history.
Two sides faced the possibility of relegation if Chatham won but Whyteleafe ensured their survival with a 2-0 home win over bottom club Horsham YMCA.
Hiram Laud-Anderson, on 30 minutes, and Fabien Batchelor, on 53, got the goals.
Corinthian-Casuals also needed a victory to be safe but they could only manage a goalless draw at Whitstable Town.
It proved to be enough, but if Chatham had scored again it would have left the two teams with identical records in every respect.