SHOLING were taken to the wire by Bemerton Heath in Saturday’s Sydenhams Premier showdown at the Universal Stadium.

Twice the Boatmen were pegged back by the Harlequins, but a clinical piece of finishing by Dan Mason clinched a last-gasp 3-2 victory for the home side.

With manager Dave Diaper away, Marc Diaper and Iain Calder oversaw the team and hit a snag in the warm-up when Pete Castle pulled out injured.

Owen Royl slotted into defence and, following chances at both ends, it was Sholing who took the lead on the cusp of half-time when, following a stray pass, Lee Wort brought the ball down, turned inside a defender and planted a curling shot into the top corner.

Bemerton had to replace their injured skipper Jake Burgess with James Lightfoot at half-time, but quickly equalised on 48 minutes when Jake Rawkins’ through ball sliced through the Sholing defence, falling perfectly for Kelvin Robinson to tuck away.

It remained level until the 70th minute when, from Alex Sawyer’s corner, Wort fired in his second of the game via the underside of the crossbar.

Wort might have had a hat-trick, but fired one over and one straight at keeper Rob Crossley.

His frustration was compounded when Bemerton hauled their way back into the contest for a second time – ex-AFC Totton man Rawkins finding the bottom corner with 79 minutes gone.

Wort had yet another chance before, with five minutes remaining, Jack Smith’s cross was met by Mason who, in one sweeping movement, chested the ball down and finished low past Crossley from 12 yards.

It sealed a fourth straight win for the Boatmen, setting them up nicely for Wednesday’s big Southampton Senior Cup semi-final showdown against Blackfield & Langley at AFC Totton (7.30pm)