A CONTROVERSIAL stoppage-time strike from Matt Groves left Swanage Town & Herston empty-handed from their trip to high-flying Merley Cobham Sports.

The game was tied up at 1-1 with Paul Best's first-half effort cancelled out by Ellis George.

But Merley pushed for the winner, Groves lifting the ball over goalkeeper Ben Hodder to secure a 2-1 victory at the death.

Cobham, pushing hard for the Dorset Premier League title, made a strong start at Merley Park, but could not find the breakthrough after some wasteful finishing.

That allowed Swans to take the lead against the run of play when Best latched onto a defensive mix-up between Nathan Walker and goalkeeper Chris Trim to slot home.

George Sparrow, who impressed at the back for Swanage throughout, ensured his side kept that lead going into the break.

Merley continued to dominate possession after the restart and deservedly equalised through George's header.

And the hosts eventually completed the turnaround at the death. Walker flicked a header on to Groves, who despite Swanage protests was deemed onside, to lob Hodder.

Swans sit 13th in the table.

Elsewhere in the division, Wareham Rangers lost 2-1 at Portland United reserves, while rock-bottom Corfe Castle were thumped 5-0 at Balti Sports.