Hailsham Town beaten by second-placed Roffey
A bitterly cold Saturday afternoon at The Beaconsfield saw Hailsham Town beaten 4-1 by high-flying Roffey in SCFL Division One.
Hailsham started on the front foot, getting into the Roffey box within the first 30 seconds, but found themselves behind on two minutes when a partially cleared Roffey corner was tucked home by Jamie Wanstall.
After Archie Guest had come close from a free kick which found its way to the far post, the Stringers made amends on the 10 minute mark when a Harry Hughes free kick led to a corner which was nodded home by debutant Jack Nicholas.
Unfortunately for the Stringers the scores would stay level for all of a minute, before Wanstall added his second with a hooked effort from the edge of the box.
The Stringers survived a scare when Wester Young made a fine stop to deny a one-on-one opportunity. The Stringers and could have levelled on 24 minutes, with Rhys Taylor unfortunate to see his bullet header deflected wide, with the resulting corner again turned around the post.
On 31 minutes a break from the visitors saw a cross from the left that resulted in a penalty, despite no visible appeal from the away side, with Young going the right way but just unable to keep Josh Neathey's spot kick out.
A fourth arrived for Roffey five minutes later when Neathey reacted quickest to smash home at the far post. With Roffey on top, Hailsham did have one further opportunity before the interval, with Ellis Webster's shot from out wide finding the side netting.
The Stringers came out early for the second half and immediately showed intent to improve, with Joey Pout's effort from range dipping wide inside the first minute of the second period, whilst sub Jacob Feasey would also shoot just the wrong side of the post after meeting Webster's free kick on the edge of the box.
The Stringers came even closer on 63 minutes, after a fine run from the tireless Rhys Taylor, one of the few bright sparks for Hailsham throughout, was cut back for Jack Grey to graze the upright from just outside the area.
Roffey continued to probe, with Young making a couple of good stops as time ran out for Hailsham, whilst the wind became an increasing factor with both sides frequently finding touch rather than the intended target.
Ellis Webster's injury time dismissal saw the Stringers reduced to ten men late on.
For the Stringers there is now a blank midweek, before the visit of another of the league's top sides, Shoreham, this Saturday at 3pm.
The under-23s meanwhile will be in action on Thursday night, going to Eastbourne Town in the Sussex FA U23 Cup, whilst the under-18s are back at The Beaconsfield on Sunday against Eastbourne United (11am, Free Entry).