Blues win tense relegation battle with Chichester

A CERTAIN amount of tension existed on the Ringmer terrace before this match as supporters knew that the Blues needed a win against fellow drop zone club Chichester who were also looking to gain the three points.

With only nine more league games to play it was imperative that Ringmer started to claw back up the table out of trouble. Ringmer’s starting XI was much the same as the previous week but with Tom Rand back between the sticks after an injury and Marc Whiteman also back in up front. The match started in a typical style when two sides are battling for survival – a lot of frantic play sometimes without thought of any outcome. Ringmer’s first chance came early on with a corner from Nic Wheeler finding Joe Dryer, whose shot went wide of the Chichester goal.

A quarter of an hour in, after much end-to-end running, Chi hit a free kick straight into Rand’s arms. Then, 10 minutes later, a Glen Matten throw-in from the right to the feet of Wheeler had him turn well too and float the ball in across the box, where Whiteman, near the far post, headed down back across the goal to provide Gavin Gordon with an inviting shot into the net for his first club and opening goal. Chichester then came back, finding themselves with a shooting chance, but Rand stopped well and the ball was cleared away.

Chi then had a last minute free kick from just outside the 18-yard box but this went high over the Ringmer bar, shortly before the half time whistle sounded.

The second half started much the same, with attacking play from the start, but Ringmer definitely started the stronger with Dryer slamming a ball across the visitors’ goal after a few minutes and Whiteman following a few minutes later with a terrific run from the left, the striker cutting in and beating the defence with a good turn of pace to slot in past keeper Josh Batey, for Ringmer’s second. The Blues, now with the upper hand, pressured Chi with waves of attacks but were finding it hard to make anything count. Dryer had at least three shots go just wide with close attempts from Wheeler, Gordon and Mark Price. Chi found it very hard to break up the slope and, with Ringmer’s strong back line cleaning up any approach, this never really gave Rand in goal a lot to do but tidy up. Ringmer should have gone three up in the 73rd minute when Gordon was pulled down in Chi’s penalty area but keeper Tosh Batey save Whiteman’s effort very well. Whiteman then hit the side netting with a shot. Two minutes from time Gordon took the ball in from the right towards goal with only the keeper to beat, Batey dived at Gordon’s feet and getting at least a touch on the ball. But he couldn’t stop the Blues man slotted the loose ball into an empty net. But as Ringmer fans rejoiced, the referee consulted his linesman and, to everybody’s astonishment, disallowed the goal.

Nevertheless, the game finished shortly after with Ringmer 2-0 to the good.

BLUES: Rand, Matten, Philips, Price, MacMillan, Curuthers, Wheeler, Marshall, Gordon (Curtis 90), Whiteman, Dryer (MacMillan 78). Sub not used: Brown.

n RINGMER drew 2-2 away to Newhaven in Reserve Section (East) in a game they really could have done with winning. Ringmer, as usual, started the game brightly with lots of possession but with no real end result. Newhaven started with one up top and posed no real threat at all to Sam Fuller’s goal – that was until the 34 minute when Newhaven were awarded a corner from which they scored from a free header. At the break Ringmer changed the formation to 3-5-2, with Sam Sowter coming on for Dave Beasley. Form the outset this seemed the right decision, with Ringmer putting a lot of pressure on the Haven goal who frustrated the Blues for a further 40 minutes. Rob Frost fianally broke the tension and scored for the Blues on 85 minutes. But straight after that Newhaven were awarded a harsh penalty which they slotted home. However, with just two minutes to go, Ringmer were awarded a penalty of their own, which Ahmed Shaker converted. Next up is Bexhill at home tomorrow (Saturday).