Roffey sink Seaford Town to go clear at the top

Second met third at Horsham FC – and Seaford Town’s record of seven straight wins ended as Roffey, also in fine form of late, moved three points clear at the top.

The visitors had given the Boars one of their toughest tests in the away fixture and boss Andy Lampard knew his team would have to be at their best to get a win.

The first half took a while to get going with Callum Connor driving a free kick wide for the visitors and home skipper Tiago Andrade chesting down in the area but failing to get his shot away cleanly for Roffey.

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The hosts’ passing gradually put them in control without creating any clearcut chances.

Roffey moved three points clear at the top of SCFL Division One after a 2-0 win over Seaford. Picture by Beth Chapman

In such a tight game, it took a moment of magic from Josh Neathey to open the scoring. Receiving the ball on the halfway line, he spotted Mike Platt a long way off his line and hit a looping drive over the keeper and into the net.

Seaford came out for the second half determined to use pace and width to get behind Roffey. They put a lot of pressure on the Roffey defence, which was without Brendan Millborrow who had failed a fitness test on a rib injury sustained in the midweek draw with Billingshurst.

However, under-23s centre half Aaron Collins came in for his second appearance and formed an impenetrable barrier alongside 21-year-old Hayden Neathey, repeatedly heading away dangerous crosses and corners.

Despite the pressure Seaford were exerting Roffey kept to their passing game with Dan Pearse, Jamie Wanstall and James Pease always looking to feed Andrade and de Meyer.

Halfway through the half James Pearse, still feeling the crack on the shin from midweek, and de Meyer, who was playing his third game in eight days after three months out with injury, were replaced by Harry Law and Jack Ryder.

Ryder’s pace immediately caused the Seaford defence problems and his closing down nearly led to a goal.

Both sides had lucky escapes within the space of a couple of minutes. Calum Connor could only prod the ball wide when eight yards out from Simon Piper’s cross and Josh Neathey burst into the box, jinked wide of the keeper but could only hit the outside of the near post with Andrade free in front of the goal.

With time running down Ed Harvey dealt with a couple of crosses but had not had a shot to extend him due to the work of those in front of him.

Three minutes from time another dangerous ball into the home box was cleared, Dan Pearse, Jamie Wanstall and Jack Ryder broke at speed and Pearse, left one on one with Platt, calmly found the back of the net to seal the points.

Lampard had known they needed a big performance and that was exactly what his squad gave him.

The game was an excellent advert for SCFL Division One football with two sides with contrasting but effective styles going head to head and ending up with the equal best defensive records in the league and very real hopes of promotion.

Roffey host Oakwood on Saturday.

Report by Sam Chapman