Hailsham take point - Seaford win nine-goal classic - Ringmer AFC on top
Hailsham Town's first away point of the season was earned on Saturday at Tinsley Lane. Meanwhile Seaford Town edged out Forest Row 5-4.
A bright start from Hailsham saw the Stringers net an early goal, when Ellis Webster's corner found the head of Archie Guest at the far post. The home side came close to an equaliser with a rising drive over the top, before Webster again caused problems from a dead ball situation, with a free kick that somehow evaded everyone in the area when needing just a touch. Charlie Playford had a shot blocked for Hailsham, whilst the excellent Sammy Townsend did well to end a quick Oakwood break as the half came to a close.
The second half began with the visitors keen to level the scores, and they did just that on 48 - seizing on a loose ball to break quickly, working the ball across the area well for a finish at the far post. Playford had another effort parried, whilst at the back Ben Thomsett did well to deny the hosts on the counter. Great work from Rhys Taylor earned Hailsham a corner on 68, with Adam Madelin then shooting over, but it took a fine save from Louis Peach to keep the scores level on 72.
Oakwood's best chance of the half quickly led to Hailsham's, with Webster and Connor Townsend both drawing smart saves. After a lull in the middle of the half, both sides finished strongly, with Hailsham sub Jack Grey seeing an effort held on his debut whilst Connor Townsend reached a through ball, but could only divert wide under pressure from the Oakwood 'keeper. With time ticking away, Townsend was brought down on the edge of the area - Webster's free kick high into the side netting causing late concern for the hosts, whilst at the other end, Oakwood perhaps should have done better with an injury time header from a corner.
Hailsham take a break from the league next week when they welcome Staplehurst Monarchs United in the FA Vase (3pm).
Stringers: Peach, Madelin, S Pout, Thomsett, S Townsend, Guest, Sparks (Grey 60), Playford, Webster, C Townsend, Taylor (Feasey 70). Unused: Lusted, Makombe, Young.
Man of the Match: Sammy Townsend (Sponsored by Linden Lodge Kennels and Cattery)
by Stuart Fairway
Seaford Town 5 Forest Row 4
Seaford Town had to survive a bravely-fought comeback from Forest Row in order to hold on to victory in a 9-goal thriller at the Crouch, with 8 of the 9 scored in an action-packed second half. A hat-trick from striker Charlie Morley meant that Seaford, who should’ve seen the game out in the first half alone, were able to come away with a 5-4 win in the end.
From the off Seaford looked the more threatening side, and it did not take long for them to open the scoring thanks to a well-placed header from forward Charlie Morley following a deflected effort from outside the area. With the lead only recently established, the hosts continued to drive at the heart of the Forest Row backline, and ten minutes later they came within inches of making it two. This time, a perfectly timed pass from midfielder Joe Dryer which sent Morley in behind, who was able to square across goal to the oncoming Reece Edwards, who somehow couldn’t find the net from only a matter of yards out.
The chances came thick and thin for Seaford throughout the first period, with Joe Dryer twice hitting the post in the space of 20 minutes. A confident yet disappointing first half outcome from a Seaford standpoint, with a lack of clinical finishing marring what was a fairly dominant opening the game. For the visitors, certainly an element of fortune to find themselves only a goal down, with the second half giving them the chance to make Seaford rue their early missed chances.
However, with only five minutes played following the restart, the home side were able to finally cash in their abundance of chances. Dryer finally got his goal for Seaford after Frow ‘keeper Ben Abbot was unable to properly deal with a lofted ball over the top, with his clearance falling straight to the feet of the Seaford midfielder who calmly slotted the ball into a half-empty net.
Forest Row, despite the deficit being doubled, managed to gain a foothold in the game only minutes later, thanks two an excellent solo goal from winger Ollie Monnery, who danced his way into the area before firing in smartly at the near post. A definite turning point momentum wise, with Forest Row all of a sudden looking the more imposing of the two sides after cutting into Seaford’s lead.
Only 4 minutes after conceding, Seaford gave away their lead after a late challenge inside the box from midfielder Matt Ford offered Forest Row the chance to level up from the spot, with Tom Underwood making no mistake in firing home to bring the two sides level. Seaford suddenly found themselves on the backfoot, and would have fallen behind had it not been for the heroics of centre-back George Olulode to twice deny efforts on the goalline amidst a huge opportunity for the visitors to take the advantage heading into the final 25 minutes.
It was Forest Row’s turn to be punished for missed chances, as only seconds later Seaford went down the other end and scored, thanks to a low driven effort from attacking midfielder Alex Saunders which evaded the trailing legs of the visiting defenders. Once again, Forest Row refused to let the game go without a fight, and with quarter of an hour still to play, found themselves level once again thanks to a curling 30-yard free-kick from Underwood for the striker’s second of the game.
The frantic nature of the second half refused to subside, and with the score even at 3 apiece heading into the final ten minutes, it was clear that the drama’s ending had yet to be written. A moment of brilliance from Charlie Morley helped Seaford restore their lead once again, after latching onto a ball over the top of the last defender before lashing home on the half-volley into the far corner of the net. With five minutes to play, Forest Row were finally dealt the killing blow, after Seaford substitute Connah Gardener-lowe was brought down in the area, giving Morley the chance to step up and make it 5.
He did just that, and in doing so meant Forest Row had a mountain to climb with only a handful of minutes remaining. Despite pulling one back in the dying embers through Elliot Benton, Seaford eventually held on to see out the victory, and in doing so overtaking Forest Row in the league standings.
by Finn Honeywood
Ringmer AFC 2-1 Cuckfield Rangers
Ringmer AFC made it five consecutive wins to return to the top of the Mid Sussex Premier Division, although an experienced and intelligent Cuckfield Rangers provided the toughest of the season so far on a warm Saturday at the Caburn Community Ground.
Both halves saw two high quality teams demonstrate good structure and organisation with little advantage given to the opponent. Despite Cuckfield edging first half possession, Ringmer created more clear-cut chances. A goalmouth flurry saw Cuckfield’s woodwork hit twice in succession, and shortly after a claim for a penalty for a goal line handball was denied with the official Steve Rodrigues acknowledging he was unsighted. A towering header from in form forward Sam Strutt gave Ringmer the advantage at the interval. Strutt glancing Ben Earle’s corner into the far corner of the net.
Earle was the architect of the moment of highest quality in the game. Just before the hour he collected Rob Le Cras’ weakly cleared cross. Earle juggled the ball on the knee, before striking a volley from 30 yards to double Ringmer’s advantage. Cuckfield pulled one back with twenty minutes remaining. The otherwise immaculate MoM Charlie Conrath’s error was latched onto by Cuckfield striker Andy Burberry. Ringmer ‘keeper Joe Whiting saved well at full stretch, albeit the parried effort fell to Chris Neatherway who slotted home for the visitors.
The final minutes of the game was characterised by resilient Ringmer defending, and counter attacking football that was sufficient to maintain the team’s 100% start to the campaign. This Saturday, 25th September, table toppers Ringmer host reigning champions Hollington United who are currently placed 3rd in the league.
Ringmer AFC – Whiting, J. Conrath, Ashwood, Duke, Doyle (Bines), Hunt, Ruda, Le Cras (Whiting, T), Stevenson (Gardner), Earle, Strutt (Craig, Sowter).
Ringmer AFC IIs 7-5 Sporting FC
The scoreline did not reflect the game as Ringmer dominated for long spells. Going to sleep for last 15 minutes almost gifting their opponents a point. Despite going into a 2 nil lead, it was a first half of numerous missed chance for Ringmer 2s. Then their first sloppy period of the game allowed their battling opponents to surprisingly go in at break on level terms, 2-2.
Ringmer got the second half underway with far more intensity and were now taking their chances. Having got 3-2 ahead and really starting to turn the screw, their opponents were reduced to ten men, with straight red for the Sporting captain. Quickly it become 4 and with 15 minutes left Ringmer had raced into a 7-2 lead with Tyler Watson bagging a 2nd half hat trick.
In reality by this time it should have been 10 and complacency took hold, as Ringmer totally switched off, continued to flood forward and left themselves exposed at the back. 3 quick goals for Sporting, who kept on going, took the shine off an otherwise very good Ringmer performance. Importantly it was 2 wins from 2. MOM – Kieran Piper