Thursday, 20 December 2012

Crowborough Athletic 4 v 2 Southwick

Tuesday 18th December 2012
Sussex Senior Cup Second Round
Alderbrook Stadium, Crowborough
Admission: £6.00
Programme: N/A
Attendance: 60 (estimate)
Match rating: 3

Attending local midweek games has recently become easier and more attractive with my recent acquisition of a car, and tonight I took the opportunity of a revisit to the Alderbrook Recreation Ground, a ground I visited on many occasions in my younger days, for a Sussex Senior Cup Second Round tie. The tie was originally drawn to be played at Southwick, however the recent bad weather meant that two previous attempts to play the tie at Southwick were postponed due to a waterlogged and then a frozen pitch, and competition rules dictated that the tie be switched to the away venue on the third attempt.

A description of the Alderbrook can be found here from my previous visit. Unfortunately programmes were not produced for tonight’s game, which was only hastily arranged last Friday. However, back issues of the programme were freely available in the tea room and seemed to follow a familiar recent pattern of programmes here – colour, and quite glossy, but rather light on content.

Surrendering home advantage would surely make an already seemingly tough task even more difficult for Southwick, who play in a division below Crowborough in the Sussex County League. Crowborough were in 14th place in Division One and were in good goalscoring form, having won their last three games, scoring 11 goals in the process, and had lost just once in their last six games. Southwick were in 10th place in Division Two. In the previous round of the Sussex Senior Cup, Southwick beat Wick 2-0 at home, whilst Crowborough won away at Little Common on penalties after a 3-3 draw.

On a chilly, slightly misty evening, the game started in fairly predictable fashion, with Crowborough very much on the front foot and with Southwick looking very limited. The only surprise was that it took Crowborough as long as 18 minutes to open the scoring with a fairly scrappy goal, the ball finally being drilled home by Alex Rich. That did not seem to inspire the home side, whose play seemed to then increasingly sink to the level of their lower league opponents, as the game became rather dull and littered with mistakes. It was still a surprise when Southwick were given the opportunity to equalise when they were awarded a penalty on 35 minutes when their forward was rather clumsily brought down from behind. Idie Adejoda drilled the penalty into the bottom left hand corner of the net. A minute before half time and it was Southwick who took an unexpected lead when Lewis Finny drove forward and lashed home a powerful shot past the keeper from a slight angle.

So a surprising half time scoreline, although within ten minutes of the restart, Crowborough were back on level terms with a penalty of their own, struck high into the net by Josh Biddlecombe. They went on to dominate the second half, although as the half wore on, extra time was looking ever more likely. However, ten minutes from time, Crowborough took the lead when a looping cross from close to the byline was headed home powerfully by Jack Turner, and the tie was wrapped up five minutes from time when Alex Rich scored his second and Crowborough’s fourth when he curled a low free-kick into the net. So it was Crowborough who progressed to the next round as expected, where they will face Ryman League outfit Three Bridges in January, however they were given an almighty scare by their lower league opponents and will certainly need to up their game when they become the lower league underdogs.

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