Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Crowborough Athletic 1 v 1 Lancing

Tuesday 11th March 2014
Sussex County League Division One
Alderbrook Recreation Ground, Crowborough
Admission and programme: £6.00
Attendance: 61
Match Rating: 3

For this week's midweek action, I returned to the Alderbrook for the first time in a couple of months, to watch a young team that has been going great guns in recent weeks and surpassing all expectations so far.

Crowborough came into this game unbeaten since the turn of the year, winning seven games in a row before drawing away at second placed Littlehampton on Saturday, and an away draw against runaway leaders East Preston immediately before the seven game winning streak. They went into this game in third place, although they have played more than games than all teams around them - two more than Littlehampton, who they trail by a point, and two more than fourth placed East Grinstead Town, who they lead by three points. Lancing have suddenly been plunged into a relegation battle within the last weeks, having been docked six points and so came into this game fourth bottom, just one place and two points clear of the relegation zone, although they have played four more games than third bottom Arundel and five more games than second bottom Hailsham, who they lead by four points. When the two teams met at Culver Road in late August, Crowborough came away with a comprehensive 1-6 win.

On a very chilly evening, this would very much be a game of two halves, probably dictated by the strong, gusty wind. Crowborough completely dominated the first half, and had a goal disallowed on 11 minutes when Wayne Clarke's jinking, tricky run ended with a low shot on goal, which was parried by the keeper and the rebound was tapped home by an offside Michael Death. However, Crowborough did take the lead on 23 minutes when Jason Barton headed a free kick into the path of Michael Ademiluyi, who lashed home a fabulous first time shot on the turn across the keeper and into the net. Three minutes later and the home side hit the bar, as they did again in first half stoppage time with a header. So the home side took a lead into the interval, but it really should have been a more commanding lead given their domination of the first half.

Within two minutes of the restart, it was Lancing's turn to hit the woodwork, this time a header hitting the inside of the post and bouncing into the keeper's hands. It was a sign of things to come, as they were the team who had most of the possession and looked through more dangerous now. On 64 minutes they scored an equaliser, when Dom Shepherd's corner floated over the keeper and into the net. Although Crowborough had the odd presentable chance interest second half, Lancing always looked the more likely to score, and in the end, the home side would surely be happy to take a point from this game in the end, but may rue their inability to not have converted their first half dominance into a more convincing half time scoreline.

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