Southwick Football Club produced a five-star display to see off Billingshurst on Saturday.
A brace from Dean Smith and efforts from Elliott Tucker, Jack Piner and Connah Gardener-Lowe ensured Wickers romped to a comprehensive 5-1 home Southern Combination League Division 1 victory.
Wickers’ build-up to the fixture was marred by the departure of leading goalscorer Andy McDowell, who moved to division rivals Saltdean United on Thursday.
Despite that loss, Southwick boss John Kilgarriff was pleased with the way his side responded on the pitch and said: “We were a little concerned where the goals were going to come from after losing Andy but I could not have been happier with how we performed.
“To score five and potentially have had even more was exactly the response I wanted from my team.
“Andy is going to be a massive loss to us but we need to find goals from elsewhere now.
“It’s not going to be easy but hopefully someone will be able to step up and provide goals for us.”
Smith broke the deadlock with 25 minutes on the clock. After seeing his initial shot saved by Thomas Betts, he was on hand to fire home the rebound.
Wickers were two goals up five minutes before the break as Tucker’s 35-yard free kick nestled in the bottom corner.
Southwick looked to have things sewn up on the hour as Smith bagged his second. Piner then added a fourth ten minutes later, before Kai Bichard pulled one back following a mistake from substitute Gardener-Lowe with ten minutes left to play.
Wickers did not allow Billingshurst back in, though, and Gardener-Lowe made up for his earlier error. The young winger curled an effort into the top corner to add a fifth for his side.
Southwick welcome AFC Varndeanians in the league on Saturday.
SOUTHWICK: Gillard; Tucker, Dunk, Cook, Josh Bidwell; Piner, Smith, Petts; Presslie, Myers, Joe Bidwell. Subs: McLennan (Joe Bidwell), Gardener-Lowe (Josh Bidwell), Packham (Petts), Kilgarriff.
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