A LATE penalty condemned Witham Town to a 3-2 home defeat to bottom side Great Wakering Rovers after a dramatic finish at the Simarco Stadium, writes JIM PURTILL.

After trailing for most of the contest, Witham equalised in the 84th minute and then missed a great chance to win it.

Liam Whipps' 89th-minute red card added to the extraordinary climax, where Great Wakering claimed their first victory since early October.

Michael Bareck had given Witham a 12th-minute lead and came close to adding to their advantage.

But the visitors equalised in the 18th minute through Jacob Bland, who showed determination to hold off a strong challenge on the edge of the penalty area and fire past Rhys Madden.

The majority of the play took place in the Witham half and Thompson shot just wide as the visitors exploited their greater share of possession.

It was no surprise when Great Wakering took a 32nd-minute lead through ex-Witham defender Perry Dunn, who showed commendable composure to shoot past Madden.

Rian MacLean headed over from Whipps' corner but it was generally a poor effort from Witham who looked second best all over the pitch in the first half.

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The second half began with greater commitment from the Witham side but the visitors went close to scoring when David Knight's shot was saved by Madden.

Despite occupying bottom place in the league table, Great Wakering showed greater confidence and attacking intent.

Jack Thompson and Anjeolaoluwa Amadu stretched the Witham defence on both flanks and Ugonna Emenike joined the attack to put more pressure on the home rearguard. Madden denied Thompson on the hour and the hosts’ languid approach lacked leadership and initiative. Adam Vyse's 65th-minute shot was saved by Fairs while at the other end, Great Wakering’s Hafeez Elegushi narrowly failed to meet Ibrahim Kamara's header, in a dangerous attack.

Vyse shot wide in the 77th minute but the introduction of Rash Salau from the bench breathed life into Witham’s attacking efforts.

Salau equalised five minutes after his introduction after Bareck's good run.

Witham seemed to have plundered a point and could have taken the lead in the dying minutes.

But as the final whistle beckoned, a penalty was awarded to the visitors after a challenge by Madden.

Almost immediately after coming onto the field, substitute Warren Keyembe scored the winner from the spot for the visitors.

It was a dream finish for the visitors who had lost 20 of their previous 28 league matches but a Great Wakering nightmare for Witham.

Town lacked presence in midfield and found it impossible to contain the visitors' determination, enterprise and pace.