Worthing's answer to Jack Grealish helps United win opener
We have reports featuring Worthing United, Wick and Arundel in our round-up of action from the first week of the Southern Combination League. Want to be involved? Send reports, manager's reactions and pictures to [email protected] and we'll include you in the papers and here online.
Worthig Utd 3 Billingshurst 1 - SCFL division one
Boss Danny Wood was a happy man as Worthing United fought back from a 1-0 deficit to beat Billingshurst 3-1 in the first match of the new Southern Combination division one season at Lyons Way.
The visitors opened the scoring early when Callum Nash took advantage of an error in the Mavericks defence and gleefully accepted the opportunity, driving the ball into the net past the helpless JJ Banasaco-Zaragoza.
The Mavericks had created several chances in the first half but were unable to capitalize. Dan Hills looked sharp but his efforts on goal were thwarted by a resolute Billingshurst defence and a couple of fantastic saves from the visiting goalkeeper.
The second half was a different story.
The introduction of Callum Wells for the injured Matt Whitehead made a huge difference, and it was Wells who hit the equalizer in the 67th minute, expertly slotting home past Jordan Jenner in the Billingshurst goal.
The Mavericks were well on top at this stage, and when Dillon Nagle was bundled over in the penalty area in the 85th minute, the reliable Callum Thoms stepped up to crash home the resultant spot kick.
There was still time for Dan Hills to put the icing on the cake with a third goal, finishing off a fluent passing move by guiding the ball into the far corner.
Overall, the Mavericks deserved the win, albeit after a somewhat shaky start in the first half. Whilst room for improvement there were many positives to be taken, and three points for starters can’t be bad.
Captain Dillon Nagle had a fine match, leading by example, and was deservedly voted Man-of-the- Match.
Boss Wood said: “We had a slight curve ball at the start when Joe Law was not fit enough to start the game, and with Tom Butler unavailable we had to shuffle the pack a bit and play a centre mid in there.
“Apart from the goal conceded from a poor pass and control I feel we dominated long periods of the game and going in 1-0 down at half-time didn’t faze us as we knew we would create more chances second half.
“Midway through the half we brought on another striker, changed the system and within minutes the pressure told with Callum Wells equalising.
“Man of the match Dillon Nagle won a penalty (he is definitely our Jack Grealish – always getting fouled) and marksman Dan Hills, as always, scores goals.
“This was a good start to the campaign but a very long way to go – and hopefully this season will actually finish.”
Worthing United faced Montpelier Villa in the cup on Tuesday night.
Wick 3 Oakwood 0 - SCFL division one
Wick hit the ground running as they chopped down Oakwood in their Southern Combination opener at Crabtree Park.
Dragons midfielder Johan van Driel smashed the hosts in front with a rising shot in the 15th minute to round off a flowing move down the left involving Nathan Hawker and Liam Brady.
After the interval Ben Gray maintained his composure to tuck away a fine through ball from fellow debutant Dave Crouch and defender Nathan Foster completed the victory, finding the far corner after a goalmouth scramble.
Delighted Dragons boss Lee Baldwin said: “The first game of the season can be a nervy affair and you can come undone but I thought we handled it really well.
“We showed a lot of quality combined with a ruthless streak and while last season we were guilty of not working hard enough when we weren’t in possession and were perhaps a little bit soft, that wasn’t the case against Oakwood. In fact it was the complete opposite.
“Our football was flowing when we had the ball, we created numerous chances and scored three cracking goals.”
Van Driel was delighted to bag Wick’s first goal of the campaign and said: “It was with my right-foot swinger as well. If we can build on this level of performance it will be an exciting season.
Arundel 0 Midhurst 3 - SCFL division one
Arundel opened their SCFL division one campaign with a 3-0 home defeat to Midhurst.
In glorious sunshine, the Mullets’ young side more than matched their opponents in an eventful first half in which visiting keeper Josh Bird tipped efforts on to the post and bar from Josh Mines’ efforts while the visitors had a strike ruled out for offside.
Richard Towers, deputising for the unavailable Jason Mines, saw Arundel reduced to ten men moments before half-time as substitute Ollie Hawkins saw red for what looked an innocuous challenge.
The second half was a containment job for the Mullets, and dogged defending kept the visitors out.
But increased pressure on the Arundel backline told as Liam Dreckman capitalised on a loose ball in the six-yard box to opening the scoring.
Marcus Bedford’s smart finish doubled the lead with 20 minutes to play.
Ten minutes from time another of the Stags subs, Kieran Carter, tapped in at the far post following a great cross from the left to secure an opening day win for Andy Ewen’s team, leaving the Mullets and Towers to wonder what might have been.
Towers said: “It was a harsh red card and if anything I thought the player was running away from goal, however the referee deemed it a professional foul – and from that point on it was always going to be a struggle.”
Midhurst boss Ewen agreed the red card had a bearing but said: “It was pleasing to start with a win.
Mullets travel to Billingshurst on Saturday.
by Trevor Knell - www.footballwriting.blog
Selsey 0 Wick 2 - Peter Bentley Cup
Dave Crouch struck his first goal for Wick and Ben Gray was also on target as the Dragons saw off spirited Selsey to book a Peter Bentley Cup trip to Storrington.
Crouch finished with aplomb just before the break, finding the bottom corner after fine play by Scott Rafferty and Ben Gray.
Former Arundel striker Gray then burst clear after being released by Rafferty in the 73rd minute to slot the Dragons into the next round.
Wick rode their luck in the first half as Selsey twice struck the woodwork through Taylor Hayes but regrouped to defend solidly with Nathan Hawker leading the way as the Blues attack was shut down.
“It was a complete performance in the second half when we looked very fit, very hungry and implemented everything we worked on in pre-season,” said Dragons boss Lee Baldwin.
“It will be a tough league match at Roffey on Saturday but we welcome the challenge.”
FA Cup preview
It’s a big day for Mile Oak on Saturday.
They face Punjab United in the FA Cup extra preliminary round after officially opening their newly refurbished stand.
Punjab United was founded in 2003 and were the first Asian team to win the Kent County League.
The club were promoted to step six of the non-league game and put in the Southern Counties East League.
Mile Oak officials say it will be a very tough test for them and they are hoping for plenty of local support.
Ticket sales are online – see Mile Oak’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages for details.
Before kick-off the new-look main stand will be opened.
With the support of local sponsors Kew Electrical and Royal Roofing, the stand’s roof was repaired this summer, while MinuteManPress have completed artwork to freshen up the look.
The club committee met in early summer and voted to rename the stand the Hamilton & Brown Stand, recognising the years of hard work of Les Hamilton and Colin Brown. Both served on the committee for decades, and were integral to key projects which established Mile Oak FC as a county league side. They were involved in work including the ground’s floodlights and both spectator stands.
Joining Mile Oak for the unveiling will be Mayor Alan Robins, scheduled to begin at 2.30pm.
A number of local teams are involved in the FA Cup extra preliminary round. See a round-up on Saturday night at worthingherald.co.uk