A Single Goal and 3 Pts
10 Man Lingers see the job through for maximum points away at The Nest!
Winter is Coming! A cold afternoon for proceedings and the early news of the day was Scott ‘Messy Twiggy’ Johnston was obviously a bit put off by the weather so took it upon himself to dangle his foot out on the nearest road and wait for a car to run it over. Resulting in a broken toe and probably 4-6 weeks out; we do hope the big man has a speedy recovery though.
A few tweaks to the side that beat Horley Town Res in midweek. Ben Connolly came on up top on his own. Wilford returned at left back, and a senior debut start for Joe Kavanagh at centre-half in replacement of Twiggy.
We started in full control, lots of possession as per our usual methods. Gave Loxwood the real run around across the first 20/30 minutes. We did punish just before the half-hour mark. A clever, intricate move from Heaton into Connolly who’s link up with Stead gave him a one on one which he buried into the bottom right. 0-1 and not a lot they could’ve done about it. The last 10 minutes of the half saw a slight amount of complacency set in with Loxwood getting back into the game. And across the whole of the half they had just as many chances as us really.
Bacon on for Kavangh at halftime and a shift in formation, which looked to incite pressure on a tad. Big chances for myself and Stead could’ve seen the game off before a key turning point. Mayhew on for Connolly to add in midfield; however, already on a yellow card, Bakhit imitating Twiggy in his absence with some poor dribbling skills on the edge of his own box was pickpocketed and resulted in him bringing the centre-forward down and being removed from play. I had to slide in at centre-half; 2 banks of 4 with Bacon having to fight on his scraps. We did still make a couple of chances which could’ve sealed the points. Loxwood did try throwing the sink at it, and forced Moore into a save late on whilst also hitting the bar from a corner which actually was Stead’s clearance stopped by MoM Wilford on the day! The game was seen out rather well in the end; 10 men for 15/20 minutes was never going to make it any easier but the job got done. 0–1 FT
Some real positives to take from the game as well as things to learn from. Complacency didn’t cost us this day but need to be aware that it can! Nevertheless, an away clean sheet was superb; well earned by all; Winning ugly in the end can prove a good habit; Dave Heaton and Jake Horn both made their 100th appearance for the club. TJ Stead with his 8th assist of the season already, and Ben Connolly with goals in his previous 3 games in a row now. Wilford with his first MoM performance of the season.
We are on our travels again next weekend, to Lancing FC. They’ll be looking to bounce back after a narrow defeat away at Peacehaven. Currently a game in hand on some teams in and around us in the league, so its key to try and keep this bit of momentum going.
Prior to the Shoreham league game at The Lair a few weeks back, we’d set an unwritten target to try and drop no more than 6 points through to the start of December. Tough as it may be, we’ve beat Shoreham and Loxwood, and a draw with Pagham. With Lancing (A), Crawley Down (H), Newhaven (H), and Hassocks (A) before December we have an opportunity to not only hit this target but maybe get in close to a top 6 spot. With the likes of Chichester, Pagham, Saltdean, Newhaven and Horsham already setting a tone for what looks like an obvious Top 5 come April / May, 6th place could be up for grabs. Plenty of quality throughout the league will be looking at this too. Eastbourne Town with a 3-1 win over Saltdean currently sits them there at the moment. 4 points separate 6th from 14th, and we are amongst Peacehaven, East Preston, and Lancing with a game in hand whilst Uckfield have a couple in hand. All very tight through roughly a third of the season gone.
Good times ahead! Up the Lingers