ROB O’Toole has spoken of the missed opportunities that could have made the difference between success and failure in Peacheaven’s two massive cup ties in the past 10 days.
O’Toole was goalscorer in Peacehaven’s 3-1 defeat against Brighton & Hove Albion reserves in the Sussex Senior Cup last week, but he also saw a chance to put Peacehaven ahead against the Seagulls thwarted when his header hit the Brighton post when the score was locked at 0-0.
He said: “I saw (Aaron) Gunn get the ball out wide and (as the cross came in) I just jumped, and took a chance.
“As I looked (after the header) I was hoping to see the net bulge but it came back off the post.”
He did manage to find the net against the Albion, pulling one back from 2-0 down to give the Tye a brief hope of a dramatic comeback, before the Seagulls hit a third to wrap up affairs.
O’Toole said: “That was a similar thing. Owen (Callaghan) crossed the ball and I just gambled. The defender was a bit slow to react and I just got in ahead of him, got the ball out of my feet and just rolled it in.
“The roar (from the crowd) was nice and big but I didn’t really celebrate it.
“We just wanted to get the ball back and kick off again.”
And he said he felt a save from the opponents’ keeper in the FA Vase match on Saturday, when Peacehaven were 1-0 up and looking to close out the game, was the turning point in that match.
St Ives keeper Niall Conroy-Owen saved an O’Toole effort to keep it at 1-0 just before the visitors’ equaliser got them right back in the game – before a last minute own goal from Peacehaven’s Aaron Gunn knocked The Tye out/
O’Toole said: “A cross came in and two of their defenders were in front of me and I got round the back,” he said. “I thought the defender was going to head it clear but he missed it and the ball landed in front of me.
“I just toe-poked it towards goal but I connected with it quite well, and from six yards out you’re expecting to score from there but it hit him on the knee.
“I felt gutted. I feel we would have gone on to win the game at 2-0 up, although you can never be sure of course.”
O’Toole admitted the experience of playing two massive cup games inside four days had left him physically exhausted on the Sunday – but said that was more down to how well the Seagulls Reserves kept the ball rather than any mental issues of having two such big games one after another.
“The whole team was excited about playing against Brighton, and with that amount of people watching,” said the 21-year-old.
“I think the Brighton game (was tiring) more than Saturday because it was all about us chasing (the ball). We expected them to be like that but you can’t prepare for that kind of physical demand.
“I was struggling a bit on Sunday; just everything but mainly my legs. I supposed tiredness came into it in the end against St Ives but they put a lot of pressure on us and in the end they deserved to win.”
See today’s Sussex Express for a match report of the FA VAse match with St Ives Town.