Sunday, 29 September 2013
Langney Wanderers 3 v 0 Roffey
Saturday 28th September 2013
Sussex County League Division Three
Shinewater Lane, Eastbourne
Match Rating: 3
Having only returned from my holiday on the Isle of Wight yesterday, I fancied a local and quiet game today, and an opportunity to tick off one of my last three clubs in the Sussex County League - all in Division Three - inspired me to head to Eastbourne for this top of the table clash.
Shinewater Lane is located about a half hour walk from either Pevensey and Westham or Hampden Park train stations and used to be the venue for Shinewater Association when they played in the Sussex League Division for eleven seasons up to 2003 before they merged with Eastbourne United. Facilities are extremely basic - the pitch is railed off and has permanent dugouts, but only has hard standing along one length. There is no cover these days - the small stand present in the Shinewater Association days has long since been removed. A white building houses the changing rooms and tea bar some distance away from the pitch. The ground has a surprisingly pleasant peaceful and cosy feel to it, with trees lining one goal line and a more open expanse over another field to more trees behind the other, and with more sporadic trees down either length in front of housing and a school. Programmes were available either from the tea bar or from a man wondering around the spectators shortly after kick offs. Consisting of twelve pages, it is a good effort for a club at this level, with all the basic information spectators would look for although about half of it was advertising.
This game would be between the top two in the division. After strolling to the East Sussex League Premier Division title having only been formed in 2010, they have had a 100% record from their four league games so far this season, scoring 15 and conceding just two in the process. Roffey have also started their season well, winning three after drawing their opening fixture to remain unbeaten going into this game.
On a bright and sunny afternoon, the first half was a very even affair, with chances at a premium and little decent football being played, although Roffey were not helped by having to substitute two players because of injury in the opening 15 minutes. A goalless half time scoreline was no surprise, although the home side certainly finished the half the stronger.
Nine minutes after the restart and the home side took the lead with a goal of real quality. The ball richoted into the path of Paul Rogers who took a touch before flighting a delightful deft chip over the onrushing keeper and into the net. Roffey had a good chance to get back on level terms just three minutes later, but their striker hit the post. They were made to pay for that on 62 minutes thanks to some dreadful defending, failing to deal with a surge down the right wing and allowing the ball to be crossed into the box despite plenty of defenders covering but all leaving it to each other to deal with the situation and Shane Saunders turned the ball into an empty net from 8 yards after the keeper was drawn away from his goal. That killed the game as Roffey barely threatened again. Langney Wanderers always looked the more likely to score again, which they duly did with just about the last kick of the game.The ball was looped across the penalty area from the right, headed on and Kyle Feneron struck a powerful shot on the volley into the net. A deserved win for the home side then, and whilst they did not play particularly well today, they still would seem to be the team to beat this season - strong in defence, and with a touch of class and guile in the locker up front.