We were expecting a tough match and that is how it turned out.
There was a new goalkeeper for us in Tom Theobald: Alex Penfold made the starting line up at left back: Chris Boulter at centre back with Dylan Marchant and Tyreke Leslie (making a welcome return) on the bench. All in all a strong line up.
We were definitely second best in the opening exchanges and it was no surprise when our opponents took the lead from a uncontested header following a corner; the team took this setback well and started to impose themselves on our opponents. The opposition goal survived at least two decent chances from us to equalise and then in the 43rd minute we made that breakthrough after a deflected shot from Gavin Quintyne beat their goalkeeper and nestled in the net. We would probably have settled to go in at the break level but after a defensive mix up, Jaan Stanley scored his first goal for the club (even though there was a stroke of luck with it going in off a defender, but with their being no ‘goals awarding panel’ at Step 6! the referee after the game was content to award it to Jaan – well done Jaan). So we led 2-1 at the break.
We were expecting an onslaught from our opposition at the start of the second half but in truth it never really came and the game became a slightly fractious affair with our visitors having two players booked – one of which could easily have been a sending off. We did not have to wait too long for that to happen when an off the ball incident was seen by an alert linesman who waved his flag furiously at the referee to bring his attention to it and the player was sent from the field of play for a second bookable offence. He was accompanied from the pitch by a member of their management team who was given a straight red card for his protests about the decision.
Then in the 80th minute after being down to 10 men our visitors equalised with a quite sublime free kick which found the top corner. This galvanised us even more and our substitute the ‘evergreen’ Jamie Byatt had one glorious chance saved and then two minutes later he was not to be denied a second time as he squeezed the ball into the net from an acute angle and we led again. As the game entered injury time it became fractious again but in the 7th minute of injury time the referee blew his whistle to signal the end of the game.
This was a very good result and showed that we can battle with the ‘best of them’ and we look forward to another game on Saturday at home to East Preston. The team need your support now more than ever, so why not come down and cheer them on.