Sunday, 5 January 2014

Old Vardeanians 2 v 4 East Grinstead United

First half only - Score 1-0
Saturday 4th January 2014
Mid Sussex League Premier Division
University of Brighton, Falmer
Admission and programme: Nil
Attendance: 5 (headcount)
Match Rating: N/A

In Falmer anyway for Brighton and Hove Albion FA Cup tie at 3pm, I decided to take in the first half of this match which kicked off an hour earlier, made possible by the close proximity of the pitch to the Amex and the 3G surface, meaning that the ongoing extremely wet weather would not put this game in any danger.

Old Vardeanians play on a caged 3G surface within the Falmer campus of the University of Brighton, and is located about a five minute walk downhill from the Amex, with the nearest train station, Falmer, a collection of minutes further. The pitch is floodlit - although this is hardly if ever made use of for Old Vardeanians games, and there are no spectator facilities here. It is actually a nice place to watch football though, with green playing fields behind one length, a hill with trees below behind one goal, and not unattractive housing lining the remaining sides. One can stand on top of a steep grass bank along one length outside of the cage, which offers excellent elevated views of the action, although floodlight pylons obstruct one's view slightly. No admission is taken nor programmes produced here.

This match would be between two struggling teams in the division, with third bottom East Grinstead United visiting fourth bottom Old Vardeanians. The hosts had gained 14 points from their 13 games, whilst the visitors had gained two fewer but had played four games less.

Although conditions started dry, it was always extremely dank and soon the rain with increasing intensity arrived.  The visitors looked the sharper for much of the first half I saw, spurning some glorious chances to take the lead, including fluffing at least three one-on-one chances. Old Vardeanians occasionally threatened too though, and on the half hour they were awarded a penalty. A good move down the left resulted in the ball being crossed into the box, and a defender pulled the striker back too blatantly as he tried to latch onto the ball. The penalty was quite comfortably caught by the keeper, but the referee ordered a retake for encroachment. A change of penalty taker resulted in the back of the net being found this time by Sam Robins, although it would have been interesting had this penalty been saved as well, as the keeper had advanced a long way off his line by the time the ball was struck.

1-0 was how it remained at half time as I then made way to the Amex Stadium, and after I had left, there was a relative goal-fest in the second half, with three visitors coming from behind to eventually win 2-4. Ciaran Steers, Simon Tadman and James Upton with two scoring for the visitors, Robins getting his second for the home side.

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