Back of the Net; Sussex and Surrey round-up

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In our weekly column, Back of the Net Ltd round-up the week’s football in Sussex and Surrey

AFC Wimbledon 2-3 Sheffield United

The visitor’s secured their third consecutive victory in the league after narrowly defeating the Dons.

Sheffield United took the lead after twenty minutes after beating the defence and dummying keeper Clarke. The visitors lead doubled six minutes later when captain Sharp headed in a cross delivered by Done. Shortly before half time, the Don’s found themselves back in the game with a low header scored by Poleon. Chances for both sides followed, but it was the Blades who scored the crucial forth goal in the sixtieth minute. In response, Wimbledon made a substitution which proved to be impactful; Elliot found the back of the net on the stroke of the seventy-third minute. Despite chasing the game throughout, Wimbledon were unlucky to not get a point. Match statistics reveal that Wimbledon dominated possession and equalled their opponent’s shots on target.

Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Brentford

A three-game winless streak in the Sky Bet Championship puts Brighton 13th in the league after six games. Losing 2-0 to Newcastle on the August Bank Holiday weekend can be forgiven, as Rafa Benitez is keen to return to the Premier League next season. However, a defeat to Brentford on Saturday is undoubtedly a disappointing result.

The Seagulls had sixty per cent of the possession and took eighteen shots, six more than the winners. Sam Baldock, Steve Sidwell and Jiri Skalak were excluded from the starting eleven, with Tomer Hemed, Oliver Norwood and Jamie Murphy were the replacements.

Tomer Hemed and Jamie Murphy were both involved in the first chance, Murphy cutting in from the left hand side and finding the striker, whose shot was blocked. Anthony Knockaert had the second main chance of the game, but his shot was saved by Daniel Bentley.

Despite these chances, Brentford were the team to score the opener. David Stockdale conceded a goal at his near post as Scott Hogan scored on the half hour mark.

In the second half, Brighton created several chances but were unable to finish. In the 70th minute, Scott Hogan completed his brace and claimed three points for Brentford.

Tomorrow night, the Seagulls look to end their winless streak as the side visit league leaders Huddersfield, and on Saturday, Brighton host Burton Albion.

Dorking Wanderers 2-1 Cray Wanderers

The battle of the Wanderers down at Westhumble and it was the hosts that took all three points. It did not go all their own way however as they conceded a penalty after 20 minutes which was converted by Smith. Dorking managed to find an equaliser before the break courtesy of an own goal. The winner was scored very early in the second half by McShane but they had plenty of work to do to preserve the win in the face of the visitors’ pressure. The win moves the Wanderers up into the second place, just two points behind leaders Tooting & Mitcham United who have played a game more.

Wanderers have a short break in their season with their next fixture not taking place until 20 September away at Chipstead.

Dulwich Hamlet 2-2 Burgess Hill

At possibly the worst time to concede, yet the best time to score, Dulwich Hamlet broke the dead lock moments before half time, with a Tomlin strike in the forty-third minute. Their narrow lead however, didn’t last long. Thirteen minutes into the second half, the Hillian’s levelled the game with a goal scored by Pearse.

In the 74th minute an unfortunate own-goal by Toure once more gave the hosts the upper hand. In the ninetieth minute however, it happened again - this time with switched fortunes; the best time to score and the worst time to concede! Three points slipped through the Hamlet’s fingers and the late equaliser from Richmond secured a point for the Hillian’s.

Manager, Ian Chapman comments “It’s always satisfying to get a point away from home when we haven’t played as well as we know we can. They are a club that have played at this level for a long time and do things properly. We have been very resilient in defence and at one-all we had a very good chance to take the lead. We didn’t and instead they took the lead shortly after. But we hung in there, we always thought we would get another chance and we did”.

Hailsham 0-3 Lingfield

Three goals in the last 20 minutes secured a victory for the Lingers in the FA Vase on Saturday. Matt Burroughs opened the scoring in the seventieth minute to give Lingfield a 1-0 lead. Substitutes Brett Caiger and Joe Kensett also featured on the scoresheet, with Sam Bell earning both assists.

A 2-0 victory against Seaford Town last Tuesday has extended Lingfield’s winning run (in the league) to four games. The side face Steyning Town this Saturday, and have another cup game against Cobham the following week.

Horley Town 4-2 Hassocks

On Saturday, Horley Town put their three-nil defeat to Epsom and Ewell well and truly behind them with a thrilling 4-2 win over Hassocks in the FA Vase. New signing, Bevan helped open the score sheet after ten minutes with a brilliant cross to Hough who found the back of the net with a bullet header. Horley’s second goal was a replica of their first, although this time, a cross delivered by Hough with Brackpool headering home. The Clarets made it three shortly before half time with an impressive solo run by Wetton, polished off with a great strike.

Hassocks entered the second half with more fire in their bellies, desperate to redeem their errors. Horley however defended well under their pressure and maintained their attacking style. Wetton scored his second and made it four before Hassocks found their consolation. A converted penalty was shortly followed by another goal, and quickly saw Horley’s lead halved. The deficit however remained too steep to overcome and Horley progress to the next round.

Manager, Anthony Jupp comments “First half was a very good performance and we created a lot of chances. I’m very happy with the result but disappointed to concede two poor goals”.

Horsham 3-2 Chipstead

An injury-time winner from George Branford gave the Hornets their second league victory of the season. In the first half Horsham were defending several free kicks, and were fortunate not to concede a few goals in the opening fifteen minutes. The hosts netted the opener against the run of play as Sheikh Ceesay, the Chipstead keeper, fumbled Alex Duncan’s cross. Darren Bosswell’s speedy reactions ensued a goal, despite an effort from Jordan Martin to clear it off the line.

Horsham failed to take their chances in the second half and were punished with an equaliser from Erivaldo Felix in the seventieth minute. Raheem Sterling-Parker gave the Chips a 2-1 lead in the eighty-fourth minute, but Charlie Farmer retaliated in the eighty-seventh to earn his team at least a point. Finally, four minutes into injury time, substitute Tony Nwachukwu headed the ball across the box from a cross, and George Branford tapped the ball into the back of the net. Final Score: Horsham 3-2 Chipstead.

Tomorrow night, the Hornets travel to Burgess Hill Town as the sides clash in the Alan Turvey Trophy 1st Round. In the league, Horsham visit Sittingbourne this Saturday and take a trip to Three Bridges next Tuesday.

Merstham 6-1 Grays Athletic

The Moatsiders sealed their first victory of the season with a 6-1 demolition of Grays Athletic on Saturday. Before the game, manager Hayden Bird told his players to “relax, work hard and enjoy the game.”

Marc Okoye netted the opener inside the first 15 minutes, Dan Hector scoring the second five minutes later. Hector showed off his pace as he sprinted down the left hand side and made his way into the box, creating a one-on-one. The Merstham fans held their breath as Hector tapped the ball around the goalkeeper, and almost out of his own reach, before he chased down the ball again and slotted it into the net.

Merstham were in control for the majority of the second half, Dan Bennett, Xavier Vidal and Alex Addai all scoring. After the game Hayden praised his team and also gave us an update on the departure of Pat Cox

“It was a very complete performance. It’s a pity that we didn’t keep a clean sheet, but we worked the ball very well and played with the right intensity.”

“We decided to let Pat leave. We were pleased to sign him; he did very well at Staines last season. After working in our environment I think that we both decided it wasn’t going to work- the club and the player. It was mutually in everybody’s interest to let Pat move on. Calum Willock fits in perfectly to the way that we play. I don’t think there’s a rush to bring anybody in. Albeit there are two or three players that we’re looking at and considering but probably won’t make a move for the next two or three weeks.”

Tonight, Merstham compete in the Alan Turvey Trophy at Kingstonian.

Oakwood 0-2 East Preston

Oakwood were on the receiving end of a 2-0 defeat as East Preston won their first away game of the season. The visitors scored in the seventh minute as link up play between Jared Rance and Jack Barnes was followed by a pass into Hayden Hunter on the left, who beat Grimstone in the goal. Later on in the first half, the Oaks conceded a penalty, but Grimstone saved Jared Rance’s strike on goal. Approaching half time, the visitors had another chance: a twenty yard free kick. Lukas Franzen-Jones lifted the ball over the defensive wall, but he was denied by the crossbar.

In the second half, Oakwood conceded another goal as Jared Rance’s cross met Jack Barnes’ head. In the closing stages of the match, the Oaks focused on attacking play as every player moved with urgency. Jimmy Punter was on top form, though, producing a fine save in the eighty-third minute as Piller’s header looked destined for the goal.

On Saturday, Oakwood will search for victory at The Crouch as they visit Seaford Town.

Redhill 1-2 Deal Town

Redhill played two cup matches last week, winning one and losing the other. On Saturday, they hosted Deal Town, who compete in the Southern Counties East League. The Dealers won their bet, defeating the hosts by two goals to one.

Gavin Gordon, first team coach, “the first half particularly was an average gave; it was probably the most average game I have seen all season. Their goal was a mix up between two of my experienced players, the center back and goalkeeper. Mistakes happen and they got a goal from that. In the first twenty five minutes of the second half we were more like ourselves and got back to 1-1. We created a few chances and, if we had taken them, I believe that we would have gone on to win the game comfortably. One of the things that did have an influence on the game was that there were a lot of soft free kicks given. We need to still press them (the opposition), but give them distance so that the referee can clearly see.”

On Wednesday, however, Redhill’s cup game was more one-sided as the Lobsters thrashed Bedfont & Feltham 4-0 in the Cherry Red Records Premier Challenge Cup. This Saturday, Gavin Gordon’s team encounter Cove. Redhill thrashed Cove on two occasions last season, winning 5-0 last October and 3-0 in March.

South Park 3-4 Tooting & Mitcham United

A 3-1 lead in the second half should have secured a victory for the leading side, but Tooting & Mitcham made an extraordinary comeback to defeat the Sparks by four goals to three.

James McElligott scored the opener in the 15th minute as South Park took a 1-0 lead, and it was soon extended to 2-0 when Dan Moody found the net approaching the half hour mark. The Terrors pulled a goal back through Leon Lalor, but Malcolm Porter’s side restored their two goal cushion as Nathan Ayling scored in the 44th minute.

In the second half, a penalty brought the visitors back into the game; Taurean Roberts Roberts converted to make it 3-2. South Park were forced to adjust as O’Sullivan received a red card, but the Sparks were unable to hang onto their lead as Matthew Price equalised nine minutes from the final whistle. A goal in the ninetieth minute precluded the hosts from earning a point, with Billy Dunn scoring Totting & Mitcham’s fourth.

South Park take a short trip to Chipstead tomorrow night in the Alan Turvey Trophy. On Saturday, the side have another cup game, encountering Leiston in the FA Cup.

Sevenoaks Town 3-1 Crawley Down Gatwick

Crawley Down Gatwick were in FA Vase action at the weekend but their interest ends for the season after a defeat at Southern Combination East side Sevenoaks Town. Kieran Greig scored in the seventeenth minute but it ended up being just a consolation.

They return to league duty hosting Loxwood in midweek followed by a trip to Littlehampton Town at the weekend as they look to improve on their current league position of fifteenth.

Stevenage 2-1 Crawley Town

Crawley drop alarming to 18th in League Two and just four points off the relegation zone after just one point from their last four games following defeat at Stevenage.

After a tight first half which Crawley started brightly, Town conceded right before the half-time break as Tyler Walker scored his third goal in two games to give Stevenage the lead. They doubled the advantage ten minutes into the second half which ended the game as a contest even with James Collins scoring a late consolation.

On Saturday, Crawley host promotion chasing Luton Town at the Checkatrade Stadium.

Three Bridges 2-1 Molesey

The Sussex side hosted a Molesey side who were three points better off than them ahead of kick off. The two sides were as well matched as their league positions suggested but it turned out to be the first win of the season for the hosts. A game that saw a flurry of cards including three straight reds and one sending off after two bookings was interrupted by three goals.

Bridges took a deserved lead in just the ninth minute courtesy of Callum Donaghey and Hakeem Adelakun doubled their advantage with a free kick. Molesey pulled one back through the impressive Grobler after 55 minutes but what ended up being the nine men of the visitors, it was they who looked much more likely to score as the game progressed to the final whistle but Bridges held on to a much needed three points.

The win moves Bridges up to 14th in the Ryman South table ahead of a trip to Worthing on Tuesday in the Alan Turvey Trophy before Cray Wanderers away on Saturday in the league.

Wick FC 0-7 AFC Uckfield Town

After building momentum during their mid-week fixture at Peacehaven & Telscombe, with a 2-1 victory in the Southern Combination Premier Division, the Oakmen really did enter the weekend with a winning mentality, and on Saturday progressed in the Sussex Senior Cup with an emphatic seven goal triumph over Wick FC.

Wick Keeper, Pye had his work cut out from the very start as Uckfield, and in particular, McClean pressed hard and tested the defence within the opening minutes. A cross from Broom to Payne opened the scoresheet, and shortly before the half hour mark, Uckfield deservedly doubled their lead with a Cooper header from a corner kick. Moments later, it escalated from bad to worse for Wick, as a penalty and red card were both awarded, and Dalhouse capitalised from the spot.

Four minutes after the interval, Broom made it four and opened his Ucker’s account. On sixty-seven minutes he scored his second, and made it five with a tap in, following a palmed save. Uckfield’s sixth goal came in the seventy-second minute when Stoz curled the ball into the far corner and it was 21-year-old substitute Webber who confidently netted their final goal in the eighty-ninth minute.

Graham Sullivan comments “As with any cup game, getting through was a priority, but we have to be delighted with the nature of the win. Even with six regulars missing, the team had strength across the pitch. Joint managers, Anthony and Cliff, asked the lads to go on the front foot and we took our chances clinically. It was also great to keep a clean sheet- keeper Matt Dann has been outstanding so far this season”.

Wrexham 1-0 Sutton United

The U’s fell to fifteenth in the National League following defeat at Welsh side Wrexham.

It took just a 64th minute goal from Sean Newton to seal the win for Wrexham but it was Sutton who looked the more likely to score after dominating proceedings in the opening half of the game. They simply could not take their chances in front of goal and ultimately paid the price for that as the game wore on. It is now one win in four for the Surrey side and only one goal in that same period.

Sutton host Braintree and Tranmere Rovers in consecutive National League home games as they seek to improve on their current league position.

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