Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Crowborough Athletic 2 v 1 Hailsham Town

Tuesday 12th February 2013
Sussex County League Division One
Alderbook Recreation Ground, Crowborough
Admission inc. programme: £6.00
Attendance: 55
Match Rating: 3

After a frustrating few weeks when the poor weather – ranging from sub zero temperatures to excessive rain – claimed many local matches, I finally managed to get in my first County League game of 2013 this evening. Even this evening, many local matches were called off due to waterlogged pitches, however, happily the Alderbrook pitch does drain extremely well, and this game was never in serious danger.

A description of the ground can be found from my previous visit, and the programme, included with admission, appeared to be a shorter than usual edition of 8 pages, understandable considering the ongoing poor weather conditions putting games in doubt currently. But it contained all of the necessary up to date information, in Crowborough’s usual colourful and glossy format.

On paper, this evening’s encounter would be between two evenly matched sides, separated by one place in the league tables, with Crowborough in 14th place, six points above 15th placed Hailsham, although Hailsham had played three games fewer. When the two teams met in early October, Hailsham convincingly won 5-1, with striker Danny Leach scoring all five goals.

On a very cold but dry evening, it was Crowborough who had the better of the opening exchanges, although on 8 minutes, Hailsham had a powerful shot hit the crossbar. The rest of the half was entertaining, with Crowborough having several fantastic chances to open the scoring, but failed to do so and so the scoreline remained goalless at half time.

Eight minutes after the restart and the deadlock was broken, deservedly by the home side, as a high cross into the box was headed across goal and stabbed home by Paul Butler. Crowborough doubled their advantage just two minutes later, when Sam Carrington showed good composure and ball retention in dribbling the ball forward, around a couple of half-hearted challenges, before firing low past the keeper.  For the next half hour, Crowborough looked in no danger, as the game descended into a rather dull affair, with Hailsham not really looking like they could get back into the game. However, a couple of minutes from time and they suddenly were right back in it, when a tame shot was deflected high towards the far post, and Shane Saunders finished excellently on the half volley. Unsurprisingly, Hailsham looked a transformed team now, and looked quite likely to force an underserved equaliser, their best chance coming when they hit the post following a header from a free kick. But Crowborough held on for the three points to rise one place in the league standings, whereas Hailsham dropped one place.

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