When TJ Barbato took over he was well aware that Sheerwater’s season could be decided on the final day.

This was proven correct as a last-gasp 3-2 home victory over in-form Cobham sees Sheerwater head into Saturday’s game at Colliers Wood United with all to play for.

Sheerwater twice came from behind and snatched victory with virtually the last kick. The hero was George Chandler, in only his second appearance. A Zac Jervis corner was flicked on by Louis McGrane and Elliot York kept the ball alive with a downward header, allowing Chandler to hit a shot into the ground which then bounced into the roof of the net to spark wild celebrations. Cobham re-started play and the referee then blew for full-time.

Sheerwater, Colliers Wood United and Guildford City are all in danger of dropping out of the Combined Counties Premier Division South, with just one side to be relegated on a nerve-wracking afternoon.

Sheerwater v Cobham, April 20th 2024.
Sheerwater battle for the ball against Cobham (Photo: Louis Woodington) (Louis Woodington)
Sheerwater v Cobham, April 20th 2024.
Safe hands from Alfie Mickley as a Cobham striker tries to get there first (Photo: Louis Woodington) (Louis Woodington)

Cobham were playing their fourth game in a week yet were unlucky to leave with nothing having led twice, hit the bar and a post and forced a couple of great saves from Alfie Mickley.

But Sheerwater refused to lie down and battled through to claim what could be a precious three points. They produced some lovely passing football throughout and it was a joy to watch neat one-touch passing in tight areas and the ability to switch play with ease.

Cobham had been in fine form and it looked ominous when they went ahead on 19 minutes. A long ball up to Stanislaus saw him outmuscle his marker and feed a ball through to Hellestoe, who raced away and finished powerfully past Mickley.

Sheerwater pressed forward straight away and Michael Milne produced a classy flick to Matt Bryant, whose cross was headed just over by York.

It was end-to-end stuff, with Cobham always a threat, and some last-ditch defending was required to keep the score at 1-0.

Sheerwater came on strong as the half progressed. Dylan Martins tried his luck from distance but saw his effort held by the keeper. Liam Avery made a surging run on 38 minutes and was upended on the edge of the box. The free kick was blasted straight at the wall.

Cobham saw a fierce effort come back off the bar, then Callum Mackie got forward and saw his shot bundled away under pressure before Sheerwater had three quick chances. Great skill from Milne saw him advance into the area but his shot was blocked, as was Bryant’s follow up, and finally George Mackie shot on target but it was blocked away for a corner.

Sheerwater equalised on 47 minutes. Bryant and George Mackie combined to set up George Sellick, who cut inside and drilled a right-foot effort past the wrong-footed Lee Norman.

The hosts got on top and York forced Norman into a save, diving on the ball at the second attempt. Sellick then arced a curling effort towards the top corner but veteran Norman tipped it over for a corner.

At the other end Chandler made a brilliant tackle to deny a certain goal and a dangerous cross was headed away by McGrane. But on 61 minutes a low cross was not dealt with and substitute De Sa poked home with his first touch to edge Cobham ahead.

Substitute Jervis had a strong effort saved by Norman, and he then combined with York to set up Milne, whose shot beat Norman but was cleared by Josh Andrew. Cobham had a quick break and a shot on the turn came back off a post.

The next goal would be crucial and thankfully it was York again with an important strike, just as at Tadley Calleva last week. Sellick came inside and floated over a cross. Cobham skipper Alexiou made a mess of the attempted clearance and York steadied himself before unleashing an unstoppable effort past Norman from 12 yards.

Once again it could have been Cobham going in front, but Mickley produced a wonderful one-handed save from a Cobham free-kick. Cobham forced three quick corners, but Mickley was assertive and claimed the first two before punching the third clear.

With the game in stoppage time, Sheerwater forced three corners of their own. From the third one, Jervis delivered the ball into the area and Chandler became the hero with his brilliant finish. With the final whistle sounding seconds later it was job done, and now Colliers Wood United away becomes the biggest game in Sheerwater’s recent history.