AFC Uckfield and Hailsham Town look forward to SCFL kick-off
AFC Uckfield Town played their penultimate pre-season friendly at home to local rivals and SCFL Division 2 title contenders Jarvis Brook.
Making his first appearance for the Oaks was marquee signing Jack Walder.
The former Lewes captain took a central defensive role alongside Dan Tear. The sunburnt Tyler Pearson was replaced by Morgan Vale.
A scrappy opening was set alight by the first goal which went to the home team after 13 minutes.
The prolific Vale placed a low long range shot into the corner of the net, giving the despairing Brook keeper no chance.
A few minutes later a lovely intricate low cross from Uckfield by just eluded a lunging Aaron Baker.
Midfielder Alex Plummer was pulling the Oaks’ strings at this stage. Uckfield continued to be dominant but were not fully exploiting their dominance with clear cut chances.
The score remained 1-0 at half-time as the temperature started to rise again.
The second half got underway with plenty of possession and interplay for the home team but again they lacked clear chances.
There was a succession of subs, including fans’ favourite Matt Black taking to the pitch.
The Jarvis Brook keeper was the busiest, making a great save from a rasping Alex Plummer strike.
The Oaks were left to rue their missed chances after 74 minutes as Jarvis Brook levelled against the run of play.
However this goal gave Brook renewed confidence and for the following ten minutes they were in the ascendency.
In the closing stages Uckfield came again, and there was a big chance in the 87th minute when Matt Black crossed towards the box but George Cook, connecting at the back post, missed the target.
In the closing moments of the game young Zac Bignell stormed into the box and beat his defender but the chance was lost as Brook bundled the ball out for a corner.
In the last minute a long ranger from talented full back Sam Cash had the visiting keeper back peddling to tip over. It finished 1-1.
The SCFL Premier Division kicks off on Saturday with a home match against Saltdean at the Oaks (3pm).
Hailsham Town welcomed Chalfont Wasps for a pre-season friendly on a very warm afternoon at The Beaconsfield.
Prior to the match the new kit was unveiled, with the Stringers supporting a local good cause in the shape of Sunflowers Mental Health and Wellbeing CIC this season in a new, bespoke quartered kit.
As for the game, the visitors, who had travelled down from Buckinghamshire for a team weekend away, began brightly before Hailsham created chances of their own in an even first half.
Both sides were battling for every ball in what quickly became a very competitive encounter, with Hailsham denied what looked like a clear penalty on the hour when Connor Townsend was brought down as he rounded the keeper.
With plenty of substitutions the game looked to be heading for a goalless draw, but a Wasps cross was slid home from close range in the 89th minute by James Auger.
Hailsham rallied quickly, earning two corners before full time, but could not force a leveller.
Hailsham Town under-23s got their pre-season under way with a home game against Polegate Town on Wednesday night.
The Stringers open their league campaign on Saturday at home to league new boys Godalming Town (3pm).
Selected SCFL fixtures for Saturday:
AFC Uckfield Town v Saltdean United
East Preston v Newhaven
Peacehaven & Tels v Crawley Down Gatwick
Epsom & Ewell v Seaford Town
Hailsham Town v Godalming Town