After an afternoon of heavy and thundery showers, the game against Mile Oak was in serious doubt. We awaited the referee’s arrival at 6 pm with trepidation, however in the previous hour we had seen our Chairman, Vice Chairman, Match Secretary and Hayley from the bar of Leatherhead Football Club frantically sweeping huge puddles of water from the pitch and forking everywhere they could in a desperate attempt to get the match played – all that hard work did the job. However, the earlier kickoff time and a major traffic incident on the M25 delayed many of our players and so we were not able to announce a team until just before kick-off which was slightly delayed by the referee to approximately 1935. The other bizarre action to note was that our opponents appeared certain that the game was still going to be called off and did not change into their kit until 1920 and then went for a very short warm-up when it became certain that the match was on.
Anyway, back to the match, we welcomed back Athan Smith-Joseph, Jonny Akoto, and Nick Wilson into the starting lineup from the previous game coincidentally away at Mile Oak a fortnight ago.
We should have taken the lead very early on with two glorious opportunities in the same attack as shots from firstly Jaan Stanley and then Jamie Byatt was cleared by the opposition defenders when it looked certain that either or both would nestle in the back of the net.
In the 17th minute, we suffered a setback from Mile Oak’s first real attack when the referee adjudged that Jonny Akoto had handled the ball on the edges of the penalty box; it was a very harsh decision with Akoto very close to the cross so not sure how he could have got his hands away in time – VAR was not available!!! The penalty was despatched so we found ourselves 1-0 down. We responded well and had two very good opportunities one of which was a disallowed goal, however, we equalised with 6 minutes to go in the half after a close shot from Jaevon Dyer after a good cross from Jann Stanley. HT 1-1.
In the second half, it was one-way traffic with us having numerous chances to score and probably win the game. Our goalkeeper, Tom Theobald was a spectator for much of it. However, after numerous substitutions, we were unable to get the winning goal so the match ended 1-1. This meant that Shoreham Football Club were crowned as Champions of our league, so very well done to them.
We move onto our last home game of the season against Selsey this coming Saturday where we hope to complete a ‘double; over them having beaten them 3-2 in a close game six weeks ago. We then conclude our season with a local derby away at Chessington And Hook next Thursday followed by an away game at Billingshurst on the 22nd of April. Ultimately, these 3 games will decide where we sit in the payoffs with the ‘carrot’ of a second-place finish still up for grabs.