SUSSEX County Football League sides will be hoping the snow stays away when their programme of fixtures is due to take place on Monday and Tuesday next week, writes Martyn Fisher.
In Division One, Hailsham Town – whose record on the road is 5-1-8 - visit Eastbourne United on the Monday (11am). United are currently marooned at the bottom of the table, and yet to taste victory.
Hailsham can count on a goal-source in Shane Saunders, but Eastbourne are the second most goal-shy side in all three Sussex leagues.
The Stringers manager Kenny McCreadie will therefore be hoping his side can heap even more misery on Eastbourne. He said: “It’s been a funny old season so far, and it’s hard to believe that we’re fourth-bottom.
“I’ve brought a few experienced players to the club, nine of whom have played in the Ryman League.
“But our position doesn’t tell the whole story, and we’re on the verge of making the quarter-finals in two cup competitions.”
Elsewhere in Division One, tenth meets 13th as Ringmer go to Peacehaven on Monday (11am). Ringmer, who haven’t drawn a match on the road this season, will be looking for 16-goal striker Marc Whiteman (above) to increase his tally.
They can move to within a point of Peacehaven if they prevail at The Sports Park, and will be confident of doing so after winning two games on the bounce. Peacehaven, meanwhile, have just two wins from their last nine games, and will hope to turn the corner in front of what should be a bumper Christmas crowd.
Crowborough Athletic sit one spot above Peacehaven in ninth, and have the luxury of a visit to second-bottom Lingfield on the Tuesday. Although The Crows are only 11 points behind league leaders Crawley Down, they’ve played six more games than Darren Guirey’s Champions-elect.
In Div Two, Seaford Town can leapfrog Westfield and move into second place if they beat The Parishoners on Monday (12pm).
Although Tyler Goatcher, Stephen Dallaway, and Liam Keith have been lethal in front of goal for Town (whose season will be remembered for the opening of a new 108-seater stand christened with a game against Charlton Athletic), Westfield’s 17-goal striker David Pugh is the man to watch.
Both Westfield and Seaford will no doubt be casting envious glances in the direction of Division Two leaders AFC Uckfield. The Oaks, who travel to an Oakwood side (Tuesday, 7.45pm) they thrashed 7-1 in the Division Two Challenge Cup a few weeks back, are also pulling up trees in the Sussex Senior Cup.
They knocked out Hastings United at the Pilot Field a couple of weeks back, costing the Hastings manager Tony Dolby his job, and earned a replay by drawing away to Division One leaders Crawley Down last week. AFC, known as Wealden FC before this season, have never been in the top-flight, but a victory over relegation-battling Oakwood on Tuesday could see them move six points clear at the top. On the same night, neighbours Uckfield Town travel to Haywards Heath in Div Three (7.45pm).
he Oak Men have lost several key players in 2010, including Joe Miller to AFC Uckfield, Chris Gould to Bexhill, and Dan Barnard to Hassocks.
Nevertheless, Uckfield Town manager Phil Smith is aiming for a positive conclusion to the campaign.
He said: “I’d be made up with a top six finish when you take into account the players we’ve seen leave.
If Smith’s side are to win on Tuesday, they’ll have to keep a close eye on Heath attacker Murray Coltham. Coltham has nine goals to his name already, but his side aren’t as domineering as their fourth place position suggests, having dropped points in the last two matches against bottom-half sides Ferring and Ifield Edwards.
However, they’ve just lost two of the 11 games they’ve staged at Hanbury Park this season, while Uckfield have one win on the road in all competitions. Brighton and Hove Albion fans interested in rekindling an old love affair are advised to visit Hill Park on Monday as Saltdean United host Newhaven (11am).
The visitors recently signed former Seagulls legend Kerry Mayo, and with this game sandwiched between Albion’s Christmas fixtures there won’t be a better chance to catch the full-back in action for his new team.
Of course, the game is an important one for the two sides involved, both of whom are within six points of second-placed Bosham.
Before snow caused several successive matches to be postponed, United were on a run of three consecutive victories, scoring nine goals in the process. Newhaven, meanwhile, were in even better form – winning their last four league matches, and scoring 15 goals. They also boast divisional top-scorer Ryan Walton in their ranks: the set-piece specialist has netted 17 times for The Dockers.
Saltdean boss Steve Green is hoping his side can start making up some ground on the teams immediately behind league leaders Dorking Wanderers. He said: “On our day we’re capable of beating anyone, but I never know what side’s going to come out of the dressing room.
“But the boys are building confidence and there’s a buzz about the place, so I hope we can kick on and nail second place.”
n Kick off times from SCFL website.