Ringmer AFC put seven past Rotherfield - but seconds let in five
Having won their group with a game to spare, for Ringmer, Saturday’s fixture against was an opportunity to release the shackles and round off the stop-start season on a high - and they duly beat Rotherfield 7-0.
Having led 3-0 at HT in their previous fixture, Ringmer went one better this weekend leading 4-0 at the break. The mercurial Ben Earle opened the scoring with an audacious 40-yard freekick after Rob Le Cras was fouled. With the Rotherfield defence expecting the free kick to be a cross, Earle instead drilled a stunning left footed strike into the roof of the net from wide on the right flank.
On 25 minutes the advantage was doubled. Callum Connor’s freekick struck the foot of the post, Ryan Craig reacting quickest to blast home from close range. Connor Ghosh made the score line 3-0 with a deep, curling cross that drifted over the Rotherfield goalkeeper before Callum Connor scored the first of his brace just before half-time.
Having been introduced at the interval, Sam Sowter finished emphatically from close range to extend the lead on the hour. Connor and Earle completed the scoring with a penalty and clinical finish respectively. Fine margins prevented Ringmer running up an even higher scoreline. Earle was denied a hat trick shortly after following a dubious offside call having been played through by Sam Strutt. Ringmer fell victim to the offside flag again in the final minutes as 16-year-old debutant Charlie Branton’s well measured through ball was adjudged to have been delivered fractionally late.
Despite the goals grabbing the headlines, the result was again built on a solid defensive performance as Joe Whiting in Ringmer’s goal kept his third clean sheet in four games. The dependable Brett Johnson, David MacNeil, Ben Gardner and Kieron Piper were robust to Rotherfield’s attacking forays, supported by dynamic midfielders Glenn Hunt and MoM Marcin Ruda.
Reflecting on the good end-of-season results, manager Oli Gibson said: “We felt we had a point to prove, both to ourselves and others, that our run of poor results prior to Christmas reflected circumstance rather than ability. Upon the season restart we wanted to win our group and build towards next season. The quality of team performances coupled with five 16 and 17-year-olds making first team debuts in the last month points towards an ability to compete next year and beyond."
Ringmer AFC 2s 3 Ditchling 5
This was a high scoring game littered with mistakes from both sides and also some excellent goals. Ringmer started quickly and soon found themselves one up after the Ditchling keeper fumbled and Tyler Watson was on hand to tap in. Ringmer soaked up attack after attack and hit Ditchling with a fast counter attack, Jacob Ashwood picked the ball up and went on a long run down the left and then cut in and riffled the ball into the top of the next from an acute angle. 2-0 Ringmer.
Ringmer were then guilty of missing a chance where they could and should have scored, to add salt to the wound Ditchling went straight down the other end and scored. Half time 2-2. Ringmer lost their keeper to a shoulder injury later diagnosed as dislocated – centre-back Michael Paris grabbed the gloves. Sloppy defending again gifted Ditchling the lead. Ditchling went on to add a further two goals and Luke Turner pulled one back with a well-timed header. Both teams contributed to an entertaining game. MOM Jacob Ashwood.