It feels like an age since we played Arundel at the Lair. This was a routine home win against a struggling side that seemed a few players short from their usual team on the day. It was good to have Twiggy back for his first start since late October and he popped up with the opener! Further first-half goals from Jake & Nas put us 3-0 up at the break and in full control. The game was over when Rans made it 4-0 with a good header although Arundel did grab a late consolation.
We then had our away trip to Saltdean bizarrely called off due to apparent vandalism of their clubhouse and facilities. We haven't actually seen any evidence of what happened but will have to take Saltdean's word for it. We were then concerned that the game would be rearranged for Saturday (13th) where half of our team would have been unavailable due to there being no fixture arranged. Instead, the game was played on Tuesday (16th) which is not ideal due to work commitments and the fact Brighton were also playing at home, causing traffic mayhem.
Anyway, the game itself didn't have a pre-season feel to it like the Arundel game, this was a lot more competitive. Saltdean are fighting for a top 4 finish whereas we want to finish top 6. The hosts played to their strengths, getting the ball up to money-man Jamie Brotherton as quickly as they could and he had a very good game. We were 2-0 down at half time through a combination of bad defending and clinical finishing. We hadn't actually played that badly and got back into the game in the second half. Firstly, Sammy was brought down after a mazy run but wasn't able to convert the penalty (my days of being generous are over and I'll be taking them from now on). A Saltdean player got sent off in the kerfuffle after the penalty and it was a reflection on the ill-discipline that ran through their squad for the majority of the game. Ben C scored his first goal in a while and a worldie at that, 2-1. We then changed the shape and put 2 up front but in my opinion this actually hindered us as we weren't able to play out as freely and couldn't get the ball up to the front 2 without going direct, which isn't our game. Saltdean then sealed the victory on the counter, 3-1 full time.
A disappointing result for us but we shouldn't be disheartened. We've already proved ourselves at this level and a top half finish following promotion last year is really good progress. All eyes are focused on a big week ahead; Langney (H) on Saturday, Uckfield (A) on Monday then the cup final on Wednesday. We will do our best to put in a couple of decent performances to gain fitness and confidence ahead of Nottsborough on Weds.
Anyone that would like to come on the coach then please speak to Dixie ASAP. Otherwise it would be great to see as many of you as possible supporting us to try and lift the trophy.
Thanks a lot..... one last push, LINGERS!