Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Langney Wanderers 2 v 3 Eastbourne Town

Tuesday 12th July 2016
Pre-season Friendly
Shinewater Lane, Eastbourne
Admission: Free
Programme: None
Attendance: 60 (estimate)
Match Rating: 3

For my first midweek action after work of the season, I took advantage of a rare opportunity to revisit Shinewater Lane midweek. Despite home club Langney Wanderers approaching their second season as a senior football club, still their home ground is unsuitable to host midweek competitive matches.

Shinewater Lane still offers very basic of facilities, with the ground remaining a completely unenclosed recreation ground, no floodlights or seating are present, hard standing is only available along one length and behind one goal. There is a small metal stand covering a flat area in one corner, and the pitch is railed off. It seems quite remarkable that the club was allowed into senior football last season seemingly without any commitment to upgrade their home ground with senior facilities. No programme was produced for this evening’s game.

This evening’s clash between two Eastbourne clubs would be between two clubs in the Southern Combination League, with Langney Wanderers finishing last season finishing ninth in Division One and Eastbourne Town finishing second.

 On an overcast evening, this was another entertaining friendly match that I have watched so far this season, played at a high tempo and was evenly matched. The home side went ahead on 19 minutes, when the ball was swung from deep, beyond the far post and headed back, allowing a simple header from a central position to guide the ball home. Just a minute later and Eastbourne equalised with a lovely goal from the edge of the area. 1-1 was how it remained by half time, although Langney came close on several occasions to going back into the lead.

Into the second half and Langney went back into the lead on 53 minutes with a freak goal. A free kick from his own half sailed high into the air and as the keeper seemed to have the ball covered as he reached out upwards, the ball floated over him and dropped into the net. But again Eastbourne soon got back on level terms, the ball being headed in from a central position after it was headed across goal. Both teams continued to create some good goalscoring chances, and Eastbourne went into the lead for the first time on 67 minutes with a lovely low angled shot past the onrushing keeper and the ball went in off the far post. They were awarded a penalty on 76 minutes when their striker was hauled back by a defender after a long goalbound run into the box. But the keeper saved the penalty low to his right.

This game continued my fortunate run of pre-season friendlies that have been entertaining to watch, played at a good tempo, with a competitive feel which will surely mean that both managers will have learnt plenty about their teams.

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