SHOLING were dealt a blow by local rivals Winchester City in the Southern League Division One promotion battle, with the Boatmen sunk 3-1 by the Citizens.

Fresh off the back of a hard-earned draw with league leaders Cirencester, Dave Diaper’s men were looking to boost their own promotion credentials with victory over Hampshire neighbours Winchester, but instead were beaten for the first time in 11 games.

Winger Brad Targett returned to the starting XI after missing Saturday’s draw with Cirencester due to injury, replacing Claudio Herbert – who has subsequently left the club.

The opening exchanges saw Sholing probe the hosts without reward, leading to Winchester taking the lead just after the half-hour mark.

A Jamie Barron corner was met by the unmarked Rob Flooks, who headed home to give his side a lead.

Flooks’ header swung momentum in favour of the hosts, who comfortably saw out the remainder of the first-half.

Any hopes of Sholing regaining control of the game was quickly quelled when Warren Bentley steered home an Oli Bailey cross shortly after the restart.

The result was sealed when a deflected Max Smith strike looped over Sholing ‘keeper Ryan Gosney, with a late consolation for Sholing via Dan Mason of little consequence.

Sholing remain in the final playoff spot in fifth place, whilst Winchester leapfrog the other Hampshire side in the promotion hunt – AFC Totton – into third place.

With no weekend fixture for the Boatmen, Sholing will have another game to make-up, adding to their two games in hand over league leaders Cirencester.

The sides will do battle again next Tuesday, with Winchester visiting the Mackoy Stadium in the Southampton Senior Cup second round tie.

Sholing: Gosney, Cluett (Gruzewski, 74), Mclean, Roundell (Mann, 79), Miller, Nicholls, Makhloufi, B Mason (c), D Mason, Green (Whiteley, 71), Targett.

Unused subs: Cope, Deacon (g/k)