Back Of The Net: Sussex and Surrey football round-up

Dan Thompson scored Burgess Hill Town's winner. Picture by David Marriott

Dan Thompson scored Burgess Hill Town's winner. Picture by David Marriott

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In our new weekly column, Back Of The Net Ltd round-up the weekend’s football in Sussex and Surrey.

Arundel 2-2 Crawley Down Gatwick

After losing their opening game 4-2, Crawley Down Gatwick were looking to get three points at Arundel, who had lost their first game 5-0. The Anvils dominated play in the first half, but found themselves 2-0 down after thirty-five minutes through Rory Biggs’ goal and Scott Tipper’s penalty. The Anvils were back in it just before half time, when Oli Leslie tucked away Kieran Greig’s cross.

In the second half, the Anvils continued to press, but were always at risk of going further behind through Arundel’s counter attacks. The Anvils finally equalised just before the hour mark through Lee Thomas. Thomas went from hero to villain, picking up a red card on 80 minutes after tangling with the Arundel full back. Despite being a man down, the Anvils held on to get a point.

A disappointing week for Crawley Down Gatwick ended with them being knocked out of the FA Cup qualifying, losing 3-2 to Corinthian Casuals. Next up for the Anvils is the visit of Eastbourne town on Saturday.

Burgess Hill Town 1-0 Enfield Town

A late goal for the Hillians secured all three points; their first win of the season!

Despite gusty, difficult weather conditions, both teams played a lot of wasteful long balls throughout. In the first half there were a few chances for both sides, however the majority of play was in the middle of the field and lacked momentum. A long stoppage, caused by a clash of heads stalled all impetus and both teams sustained head injuries. More injuries were to follow and reluctantly, Manager Ian Chapman was forced to make changes.

As the clock ran down, it seemed both sides would secure a point. In the ninetieth minute, a burst of energy saw play go from end to end; a penalty shout for Enfield was denied and from one box to the other, Dan Thompson snatched up all three points for Burgess Hill.

Crawley Town 1-1 Barnet

Crawley Town’s unbeaten start to the season continues after a hard-fought draw with Barnet, which leaves them sitting at 2nd in the League Two table.

The visitors took the lead after just three minutes, when Sam Togwell’s long headed pass found former Crawley striker John Akinde, who smashed his shot past the keeper. Akinde was causing all sorts of problems for the reds, and will be frustrated that he didn’t add to his tally, having three excellent chances in the first half.

The Reds drew level in the second half on sixty-seven minutes when defender Joe McNerney headed in from point blank range after James Collins’ shot cannoned off the bar.

Manager Dermot Drummy was full of praise for his side’s comeback;

“We did fantastically to get back into the game, we’re building and the fans are getting behind us… Barnet are a very good side and I think they will be up there this year”.

Chipstead 2-1 Beckenham Town

Chipstead held on to beat a spirited Beckenham Town in their FA Cup preliminary round. A competitive and even opening half an hour showed both sides’ thirst to progress further in the competition. Raheem Sterling-Parker and Erivaldo Felix showed offence, however failed to hit the target. It was Beckenham, who had the ball in the net first after thirty-eight minutes, but

the assistant referee had already raised the flag for offside. Chipstead took the lead just before halftime, when skipper Jordan Martin scored in the forty-third minute.

Chipstead’s lead doubled shortly after the break, when Erivaldo Felix fed the ball through to Chris O’Flaherty, who meandered his way through the defence and into the box and fired hit shot.

On fifty-five minutes, Chips keeper Sheikh Ceesay punched the ball to clear a corner, the ball however bounced up and hit the hand of Steve Betancourt, to which the referee pointing to the penalty spot. The penalty was converted and Beckenham Town were back in the game.

With Beckenham failing to find the back of the net again, and Chipstead safeguarding their narrow lead, the Chips are through to first qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Dorking FC 0-5 AC London

Midweek saw both Dorking FC and AC London win their games, scoring a combined total of eleven. With goals forecasted, the visitors certainly lived up to expectations; scoring five.

A fairly open and even start to the game quickly crumbled when AC London rippled the woodwork. From then on in, the visitors controlled the game and dominated possession. After sixteen minutes AC took the lead on the break from a free-kick, with a goal scored by Djalo. Their lead soon doubled when a free-kick was awarded just outside the penalty area. The ball curled over the Dorking defence, and keeper Day was unable to save the shot, despite getting his hands to it.

The visitors entered the second half with the same momentum they built in the first. Their third goal came two minutes after the interval with a Santos volley when the Chick’s left their defence too open. London’s fourth goal was a replica of their second, the only difference being a new goal-scorer, with Sumaca adding his name to the scoresheet. With twenty minutes to go, a long ball to Fotso made it five, after chipping Chick’s keeper in a one-on-one.

Playing tirelessly until the final whistle and using all three substitutes was not enough for a consolation. A tough fixture, too early in the campaign for the youthful and inexperienced side, perhaps? However, onwards and upwards is the attitude of the club and its support!

Chipstead held on to beat a spirited Beckenham Town side 2-1 in their FA Cup

preliminary round at the High Road, but credit to Town for not giving up at 2-0

down with 40 minutes still to play - they created 2 good chances to equalise, &

hit the post. However, Chips had chances of their own to kill the game off

before the end too

East Grinstead 2-3 Dorking Wanderers

Dorking Wanderers are off to a flying start this season, making it two wins in two after beating East Grinstead, as they look to improve on last season’s play-off finals defeat.

Wanderers went behind against the run of play after nine minutes, but fought hard to come back and equalised fifteen minutes later thanks to Jerome Beckles’ excellent finish. Wanderers’ dominance continued in the second half and they took the least as James McShane scored his first goal for the club after fifty-two minutes. Despite their controlling of the game, a lack of decision making in defence allowed the hosts to equalise in the sixty-first minute through Alex Gaggin. Wanderers went all out to regain their lead, and didn’t have to wait long when Matt Briggs struck a low finish six minutes later. The visitors were able to hold out for the win, to the delight of manager Marc White, who said;

“Pleasingly we created the best part of 20 chances during the game, and the players are beginning to get somewhere near full match fitness after our quiet pre-season”.

Wanderers picked up another win in the FA Cup preliminary round, beating Shoreham 4-3 away. The side will be full of confidence as they travel to Tooting & Mitcham United on Saturday, but will need to tidy up at the back if they are to continue their winning run.

Hailsham Town 0-5 Lingfield

Lingfield had a game to remember when they took on Hailsham Town on Saturday with an empathic 5-0 away win at The Beaconsfield in the Peter Bentley Cup.

Despite the somewhat indifferent weather conditions on the day, the visitors more than rose to the occasion. Lingfield opened up the scoring in the twelfth minute through Marc McEvilly, it was then doubled through Daniel Firth on twenty four minutes to lead into the break 2-0 up.

Lingfield then made it 3-0 through Nathan Hull eighteen minutes after the restart before Finley Woods and a second from Daniel Firth before time completed an impressive win to progress through to the next round.

Hassocks 1-2 AFC Uckfield Town

Taking a short break from league action, Hassocks and AFC Uckfield went head-to-head in the Peter Bentley Cup on Saturday 20th August. The first half saw little offence in both teams; neither goalkeepers had a single shot to save! Reaching half time goalless, all the action was to come. Shortly after the break Uckfield took the lead when a low cross was delivered into the box and then fired into the back of the net. In response, Hassocks made a double substitution which seemed to up the tempo. With the clock running down, a super save for U’s keeper Dann in the eighty-third minute in a one-on-one, was Hassock’s best chance of the game to equalise. Two minutes later however, a sloppy mistake in the D resulting in a red card and a penalty granted Hassocks a life line. A beautifully taken penalty by Hawkes, sent Dann diving the wrong way, levelling the game and taking it into extra time.

Uckfield substitute, Finlay Brown scored the winner in the one-hundredth and tenth minute after Dalehouse broke away down the right wing and delivered to his feet. Ten-man Uckfield progress to the next round!

Hythe Town 1-1 Chipstead

Chipstead as still looking for their first league win of the season after they had to comeback from behind to snatch a point at Hythe Town. The hosts took the lead on thirty-eight minutes through Charlie Webster’s header, and he nearly doubled their lead just before half time on the counter attack, but his shot just skimmed past the post. The Chips came out stronger in the second half, but had to wait until the ninetieth minute when Erivaldo Felix equalised with his second goal of the season. Felix then had the chance to win the game deep in to stoppage time, but his shot was well saved by the keeper.

The Chips are through to first qualifying round of the FA Cup after beating Beckenham Town 2-1 through goals from Jordan Martin and Chris O’Flaherty. They will now face Slough Town away on the 3rd September.

Lewes 6-1 Redhill

This weekend saw the Lobsters take a trip to Lewes in the FA Cup at the Dripping Pan. The Isthmian League Premier side proved too much for Gavin Gordon’s side as they succumbed 6-1 overall.

Lewes had the game under control as early as half time, being 3-0 up and despite Redhill’s keeper Jindrich Vokaty keeping out a chance for Lewes to convert from the spot. Joshua Jones, Alex Laing, James Hammond and a hat trick from Lloyd Dawes all made their name onto the scoresheet for the hosts before Connor Westney grabbed a late consolation nine minutes before time.

The quality of the higher league opposition was clear to see on the day and the hosts progress onwards and Redhill fall at the first round of the competition.

Despite the disappointment of exiting the FA Cup, Redhill face two away games in the league to come, starting with Balham this coming Saturday followed by a visit to Worcester Park two days later on Bank Holiday Monday.

Speaking with Redhill manager Gavin Gordon after the game, he told us how disappointed he was with his team’s performance;

“It was a poor performance against a good team. Until the last ten minutes we didn’t do ourselves justice. Our main business is the league and now we need to focus on the weekend and go and pick up 6 points. It’s really tough having such a short turnaround, and we’ll have to utilise the whole squad”.

Merstham vs AFC Sudbury

Hayden Bird’s side had a frustrating game on Saturday as they hosted AFC Sudbury at the Moatside in the Ryman Premier League. Despite creating most of the chances throughout the match, including various opportunities for Merstham’s Pat Cox, Xavier Vidal and Arron Hopkinson in particular, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock. Merstham switched off defensively three minutes from time, and AFC Sudbury took their chance, and snatched an unlikely 1-0 victory.

There were a couple of controversial moments during the game, non-more so than a penalty shout within seconds of the final whistle as Merstham substitute Dan Hector looked to have been brought down in the Sudbury box, however this was dismissed and the game brought to a close.

After the game Merstham boss Hayden Bird was visibly disappointed and frustrated by the lack of finishing in the final third which the Moatsiders have lacked in the last couple of games. Speaking to us after the game he said;

“There were no positives. You can’t play football like that. I said to them after the game I stopped counting at 15 chances, and the result was inevitable. They are blaming the officials, but it’s not their fault. Even if the officials have made a mistake on their goal, we should have been winning 5-1”.

Northampton Town 0-0 AFC Wimbledon

A point’s a point! Wimbledon secured their first point of the campaign in goalless draw at Northampton. Having lost their first three league games, a more familiar fixture for the Dons saw them lift off the bottom of the League One table. The newly promoted sides, met their match and failed to outperform the other. Wimbledon posed greater threat with more shots on goal and on target, however Northampton retained more possession throughout. On reflection, a fair result; neither side deserved all three points.

Oakwood 0-1 Billingshurst FC

Things did not go to plan for Oakwood on Saturday as they played against Billingshurst FC at Tinsley Lane. Despite playing with a quickly assembled defensive back line, and playing with a centre back as a goalkeeper, Oakwood succumbed to a lone Billy Lannon goal in the twentieth minute to give their opponents a historic first win in senior football. A milestone moment for the visitors and an outstanding achievement given their hastily created starting XI for the game!

We spoke to an extremely disappointed Jimmy Ferrar after the game;

“We were absolutely dreadful. We just can’t break teams down at the moment. We should have won yesterday, we probably had about 95% of the possession in the second half, but we just couldn’t get past their back four. There are no excuses and we must look to the next game. I know Loxwood’s manager and we played them during pre-season. They are a very good team”

Reading 2-2 Brighton

It was an eventful visit to the Madejski stadium when they took on Jaap Stam’s Reading in the Championship. The hosts took the lead through a John Swift free kick before Brighton were on level terms through a Joey Van Den Berg own goal six minutes later. The Gulls were straight out of the blocks as Anthony Knockaert made it 2-1 immediately after the break with a low drive past Al HabsI.

The lead lasted only thirteen minutes however as Paul McShane equalised for Reading. The hosts eventually ended the game with ten men as Van Den Berg was sent off for a 2nd yellow just before full time. The match finished honours even at 2-2.

Chris Hughton admitted that Reading had more of a threat on goal compared to the Gulls and was disappointed with the way his team performed in the first half considering their performances of late;

“I was especially disappointed with our first-half performance. For the levels that we’ve been at recently, I don’t think we reached those levels in the first half. There’s no particular reason for that. We’ve made a couple of changes and perhaps that rhythm wasn’t there. Periods in the game became very open and I thought Reading did it better than us. At times, they looked more of a goal threat than us.”

Sevenoaks Town 4-2 Horsham

Another local side in FA Cup action this weekend was Horsham FC as they visited their opponents Sevenoaks Town in a goal-filled cup tie.

The hosts were 3-0 to the good by half time through a brace by Joe Bingham and an unmarked Adam Marsh header. Sevenoaks Town were awarded two penalties in the first half and the visitors were lucky not be 4-0 down, Horsham keeper Pelling saving the first, Bingham converting the second on the stroke of half time.

Horsham’s Darren Boswell came within inches of making it 3-1 as his effort hit both posts to opening the away side’s scoring but to no avail. Yancie Gnachre made it 4-0 on seventy-nine minutes before Horsham did rally back through a Terry Dodd penalty and a Scott Harris header but it wasn’t enough as the game ended 4-2 and the host’s progress through the next round.

Next up for Horsham will be Hythe Town away on Saturday before hosting Lewes FC at home on Bank Holiday Monday.

We spoke to Matt Dale after the game and he gave us his thoughts;

“It was disappointing to be honest. I think the supporters thought we might have got something from the game, at least a replay. We started badly and it was a mistake from us that gave them the lead. We needed to find an equaliser and we pushed for it, but another mistake gave them their second goal. Mistakes are killing us at the moment. Josh Pelling became the third goal keeper we’ve used already this season, and he gave away two penalties, although he did save one. So that’s the kind of day it was. Our two late goals was a positive, but it was too little too late. Over the ninety minutes it was a disaster. We can score goals, but we need to tighten up at the back”.

Sittingbourne 4-4 Three Bridges

Three Bridges recovered from a two goal deficit to salvage a point at Sittingbourne in a thrilling 4-4 draw. The Bridges took the lead after 6 minutes through Tony Garrod’s volley, but were brought back level just two minutes later after Miles Cornwell headed past Kieran Thorp. The hosts then took the lead after a defensive mix up allowed Remell Davis to run through and lob the keeper.

Three Bridges bounced back quickly after the interval, with new signing Devon Fender heading in Tony Garrod’s cross. Sittingbourne regained their lead on fifty-nine minutes when Dan Tanner tapped in a corner. Another defensive error from the visitors allowed Sittingbourne to double their lead after sixty-eight minutes, with the ball ricocheting into the path of Cornwell who hit home from three yards.

The Bridges looked beaten at 4-2 down, but lowered the deficit in the eighty-fifth minute when substitute Ben Godrey’s free kick set up Steve Sargent, who drilled in from twenty-five yards. As the board came up to show five minutes added time, Bridges were awarded a free kick just outside the box, which was converted superbly into top corner by Godfrey.

Three Bridges couldn’t bring their scoring form to Ashford United, who beat them 1-0 in the FA Cup preliminary round on Saturday, and will be hoping to change that and get their first league win of the season when they travel to Walton Casuals on the 27th.

South Park 2-0 Phoenix Sports

The Sparks had a successful afternoon in the FA Cup as they managed to record their first win of the season, defeating Phoenix Sports 2-0 to progress through the next round.

The game reached half time goalless. In the second half, South Park’s Dylan Merchant broke the deadlock for the home side after sixty eight minutes. Four minutes later, Merchant duly converted again for the Reigate based side to make it safe and take the win for Malcolm Porter’s side.

Next up for South Park sees them on the road to visit Sittingbourne in the league next Saturday before hosting Guernsey at King George’s Field on Bank Holiday Monday.

After the game we spoke to Malcolm Porter

“It’s been a tough start to the season, but we watched Phoenix during the week, and we knew how tough it would be. To get the victory was fantastic, and we thoroughly deserved it. I hope this will kick us on in the league. We have a few injuries, but we’ll just have to get through the bank holiday weekend”.

Sutton United 2-0 Macclesfield Town

Sutton United now sit in third place in the National League, their highest ever league position, after their third win in a row at home to 10 man Macclesfield.

The U’s dominated Macclesfield throughout, and took the lead on 25 minutes when Ross Stern slotted past keeper Craig Ross from close range. French midfielder Bedsente Gomis doubled the lead, rounding off an excellent passing move for the host. The U’s continued to pressure Macclesfield, but were unable to add to their goal tally after striking the woodwork twice. Defender Andy Halls was then sent off in the 65th minute, ending any chance of a comeback for the Silkmen.

Manager Paul Doswell comments

“We stuck to a rigid game plan today, I thought we won the battle of the midfield and that was really important… Everyone’s fighting for their place and the players have done a sterling job”

Next up for the U’s is the visit of Dagenham & Redbridge on Bank Holiday Monday, and they will be confident they can continue their winning run.

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