ALRESFORD Town extended their stay at the Sydenhams Premier Division summit with a 2-1 win at Bournemouth Poppies on Saturday.

With second-placed Sholing’s game at Moneyfields postponed on Thursday, the Magpies knew that victory at Victoria Park would keep them top of the pile.

But though they came away with all three points, it was hard going on a bumpy, uneven pitch which hindered their normal smooth, passing game.

It was the Poppies who took the lead on 40 minutes when Scott Costello beat Jason Collins from a narrow angle.

But Alresford came out firing for the second half and, just two minutes in, Mike McEnery managed to scramble the ball over the line. A defender prevented it hitting the back of the net, but the assistant referee signalled a goal.

The winner came from the unsurprising source of top scorer Warren Bentley – his 45th goal of the season.

He was set free by Chris Manning’s slide rule pass and coolly finished past ’keeper Kenny Vaughan.

Alresford could have got more but were denied by the agility of Vaughan, who used every part of his body to keep the ball out.

“The performance won’t go down as a classic, but it was another case of showing grit and determination to secure the three points,” summed up Alresford secretary Keith Curtis.

The Magpies – one point clear of Sholing having played five games more – entertain Whitchurch tonight. Away games follow at Fareham (Thursday) and Hamworthy (Saturday).