Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Crowborough Athletic 2 v 3 East Preston

Tuesday 26th March 2013
Alderbrook Recreation Ground, Crowborough
Sussex County League Division One
Admission with Programme: £6.00
Attendance: 42
Match Rating: 4

This evening I resisted the lure of watching important World Cup Qualifier in Montenegro to brave an unseasonably very chilly evening at the Alderbrook, for what looked like being a very tough game for my local team, Crowborough Athletic.

With temperatures hovering around freezing point this evening, but mercifully dry – for a change, recently – the game had a red hot and surprising start, when Crowborough took the lead with just a couple of minutes on the clock, when a cross into the box was headed gently over the keeper and into the net by Josh Biddlecombe. Whilst it was something of a surprise to see Crowborough take the lead, they held on to the lead fairly comfortably as they moved the ball around well and looked quite solid at the back. East Preston showed more quality on the ball, but were quite sloppy with it in the first half. Pretty much out of nothing though, East Preston were back on level terms on 29 minutes. The ball was played forward and the keeper raced to the edge of the box to meet the ball and attacking player, however the forward cleverly lobbed the ball high towards goal, and Shaun Charles bundled the ball in on the line. They almost scored again a couple of minutes later, when they had two shots cleared off the line following a corner, but apart from that, a level scoreline at half time was a fair reflection on proceedings.

After a half time interval spent trying to keep warm in the clubhouse with hot chocolate and watching the England game on the TV – which was surely a factor in the low attendance at this game, East Preston took the lead on 52 minutes when a low kick from wide was played into the box and evaded a host of players before being fired home from 8 yards by Craig Grantham. Crowborough were soon back on level terms again though, when just four minutes later, a fast counter attack left Biddlecombe running towards goal unchallenged, but showed composure in passing the ball to the onrushing Chris Ransome, who fired the ball high into the roof of the net. This was actually somewhat against the run of play, as East Preston showed real quality in the second half, forced countless corners and only some desperate defending from Crowborough kept the visitors at bay. Another four minutes later and Crowborough appeared to be given a great chance to earn at least a point when the visitors had Fred Foreman sent off for an off the ball incident. However, this didn’t impede East Preston, who continued to dominate proceedings, and on 70 minutes, the visitors went back into the lead, when Crowborough failed to deal with a corner into the box and eventually Joe Shelley fired home from close range. This seemed to kill the game unfortunately, as it seemed to knock the stuffing out of Crowborough whilst East Preston were happy to stick with what they had. And so it was East Preston who claimed the winner, although with a result that was much closer than might have been expected, and Crowborough should certainly take heart from a very good, positive performance against one of the strongest teams in the Sussex League.

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