Seaford Town sweating on rivals for shield fate - Ringmer side rout Lancing
Seaford Town had one win and one defeat in their final two SCFL Shield group games - now they must wait for AFC Varndeanians, Mile Oaka and Bexhill to finish their campaigns to see if they will be in the semi-final. Meanwhile it's been a busy week at Ringmer AFC. Reports from both clubs below...
Seaford Town took another large step towards qualification from the group stage of the SCFL Supplementary Shield after defeating AFC Varndeanians 2-1 at Withdean.
A goal either side of the half for Seaford were enough to see off the home side, who in the midst of a frantic ending could not find a way to prevent themselves losing out on a share of the points.
From the off Varndeanians looked to cause problems, with a number of early corners proving to be problematic for a Seaford defence who were forced into action right from the first whistle.
It took a while for the away side to find their feet in the game, with the attacking fluidity possessed by Vardeanians making it hard to commit to any real forward thinking play throughout the opening stages. With their first real attacking venture, however, Seaford were able to take the lead when a long throw from right-back Shaun Skipper was met by the apparent head of a Vs defender and into the back of the net.
A frustrating way to concede for Varndeanians, while Seaford looked to build with their newly found confidence after taking the lead. Despite a late flurry of attempts from the home side, Seaford were able to see out the half with their lead intact thanks largely to their defensive structure led by standout performer George Olelode at the heart of the visiting backline.
The second half promised entertainment, with Seaford coming out strongly in the hope of adding to their first half advantage. Only seven minutes after the restart they did just that, with midfielder Shane Harper doing well to evade several challenges in the final third, before the ball fell kindly to forward Billy Pout who with the outside of his boot finished past Matt Gotel in the Varndeanians goal.
With the deficit extended to two, Varndeanians looked to find any way possible to get back in the game, with the Seaford structure proving resolute thus far. The home side nearly had a goal back with 20 minutes to play, after a free-flowing counter attack found striker Matt Waterman with space in the box, with his effort falling just wide of the post.
With tempers flaring from both sides, the last period of the game grew ever-more contentious as Varndeanians continued to apply pressure in spite of time slowly running out. With only a minute of normal time to play the home side had a goal back, with Waterman this time able to finish following a lofted ball into his path from the midfield.
Within a matter of seconds he almost levelled the score, after Seaford were dispossessed straight from kick-off, eventually presenting Waterman with a one-on-one opportunity in which he agonizingly struck the outside of the post.
After narrowly escaping a barrage of attacks from the home team, Seaford were able to hold on to all three points, meaning they are likely all but through to the next round of the Division One Shield. Manager Paul Wise expressed his delight after his side claimed victory at a place where not many teams have been able to do the same in recent memory, making his team’s performance all the more commendable.
Seaford 1 Bexhill 2
Seaford Town endured a disappointing end to their Supplementary Shield group stage campaign, after two goals from Evan Archibald helped Bexhill United on their way to a 2-1 victory at the Crouch. Despite a late second half resurgence from Seaford, the defeat means that they must now wait for results of other matches in the group to determine whether they advance into the next round.
Bexhill looked the more promising in the first half, with the wide threat of Jack McLean proving to be a handful for the Seaford defence on numerous occasions. Seaford, unlike the reverse fixture between the two sides, were unable to make use of possession on the break, with defensive commitments leaving them short-handed going forward.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, after an in-swinging corner was met by the head of Evan Archibald, who escaped his marker to give the away side the lead. The game refused to open up despite the opening goal, with neither side able to keep the ball for any substantial period of time under opposition pressure.
Seaford, who with a win would ensure their qualification from the group stage, ended the first half frustrated having not been able to make any real attempts at goal after going behind.
The second half had initially picked up where the first had left off, with Seaford struggling to find space in behind the relatively unchallenged Bexhill defence. As the home side began to push more players forward, they became immediately susceptible to Bexhill’s dangerous counter-attacking threat, with Archibald nearly having this second on the hour mark if it weren’t for a good save by Jack Webb in the Seaford goal.
Not long after, however, he was able to add to his tally, after a rare mistake from Seaford centre back George Olelode gifted Archibald with the chance to slot past the keeper into the bottom corner, doubling Bexhill’s advantage. With the realisation of goal-difference becoming a factor in the standings, Seaford began to press further into the Bexhill half, knowing that even to reduce the deficit to one would be beneficial for their cause.
With only a matter of minutes to play, Seaford eventually got one back after an early ball into the box found striker Billy Pout unmarked, who was able to head back across goal to give his side hope of mounting a comeback. A nervy last few minutes ensued, yet Bexhill were able to hold on to victory in the end leaving Seaford’s fate hanging in the balance.
Aside from the evening’s result, Seaford Town manager Paul Wise was quick to praise his side's performance throughout the tournament, showing great confidence in his squad ahead of the approaching new season.
Seaford reports by Finn Honeywood
Ringmer AFC 3s 8-0 Lancing Utd 2s
A youthful Ringmer 3s side produced a devastating attacking display last Thursday to smash 3rd placed Lancing United. In the words of a club committee member, ’it was the best footballing performance by any Ringmer side since the club started life at the Caburn Community Ground, this 3s side have come along way this season’.
From the first minute, Lancing could not live with the speed, movement, passing and energy of Ringmer, although keeper Stu Mouland had to make excellent early save from what was pretty much Lancing only chance of the night. By half time it was 4-0 to the home side, it could have been more with several chances missed and Sam Bines smashing bar with curling free kick.
Two goals from Adam Burton, one a piece from MOM Jonathan Nussey and club top scorer Noah Simmons-Botelho. Now it was whether Ringmer would carry on their great play and they certainly did. Burton completed his hat trick with top corner finish and James Peck made it 6, coolly converting penalty.
Ringmer now took the chance to bring on 16yo Aidan West for his 3rd team debut and the opportunities for more goals kept on coming. Bines again hitting bar as did Hayden Newell. Josh Dean made it 7-0 before Simmons-Botelho bagged his 12th of season to make it 8-0 with 25 minutes to go.
It should have been double figures but Ringmer started to be a bit wasteful as they tried to tee each other up and unselfishly try to get debutant West on the scoresheet. Somehow it remained 8-0.
Great team performance, great debut for Sam Gayford at right back, Charlie Branton, Josh Sudan and Sam Bines all excellent in midfield, with MOM Nussey in top form leading the line and bringing others into play.
The future is bright.
Ringmer AFC 3 – 0 Westfield FC
With four players missing through injury, commanding centre back performances from David MacNeil and Ben Gardner, dynamic midfield displays from 16-year-old debutants Jake Barber and Josh Sudan, and a clinical opening goal from Ryan Craig helped Ringmer secure three points on a blustery spring afternoon at the Caburn Community Ground.
With Westfield starting on the front foot, Joe Whiting in Ringmer’s goal had his busiest spell of the fixture inside the opening 20 minutes of the game. Sound handling from Ringmer’s no.1 coupled with a resolute back line of Piper, MacNeil, Gardner and Johnson restricted Westfield to long range attempts and speculative crosses in the opening exchanges.
By the midpoint of the half Ringmer had exerted possessional dominance with Hunt, Ruda and Le Cras now dictating the rhythm of the game with well-rounded midfield performances. Le Cras and Ruda in particular linking well with Earle and Connor in wide areas, to create a number of attacking opportunities for Ringmer. The first clear opportunity of the game came on 25 minutes as Connor raced clear of the Westfield back line.
The square pass found Ryan Craig at the far post, but a stretching Craig could not quite finish from an acute angle. Within two minutes of that chance Craig had atoned to give Ringmer the lead. His skill and power was such that having escaped two covering defenders his lobbed effort over an onrushing ‘keeper nestled in the back of the net from 18 yards.
As with the first half Westfield started the brighter, albeit Ringmer were largely untroubled as the low defensive block gave little room for the travelling side to play. The introduction of Sowter and Strutt around the hour saw Ringmer’s lead doubled minutes later.
From a corner Sowter found Strutt inside the 6-yard box. Strutt finishing emphatically from close range. Having previously looked a more likely provider than scorer, Callum Connor took his Ringmer season tally to double figures in the final minutes. Following good defensive work from Luke Turner, Sowter released Connor who squared up the Westfield ‘keeper and rifled home a one on one to extend the lead. Man of the Match: David MacNeil.
Ringmer AFC 2s – 2-2 – Fletching
An arduous run in for the 2s continued as they had second hard fought fixture against Fletching in just over a week. It was a competitive game from the first whistle and with Ringmer seeming short of energy, Fletching started to take control, although Ringmer defence held firm.
The half turned on decision from the referee to sin bin Ringmer centre back, Dave Manning, and within couple of minutes of being down to 10 men, Ringmer found themselves a goal behind. Changes were made at half time with both Jacob Ashwood and Adam Burton entering the fray and the team responded, energy levels increased and Ringmer started to play to the windy conditions.
However, Fletching stretched their lead and now it was uphill struggle for the home side. Ringmer reacted, upping the tempo and midway through the half a long clearance from keeper Tuffin, eluded the Fletching backline and Tyler Watson coolly slotted home. Game on, suddenly it was 2-2 when Jake Barber finished as the ball bounced around the Fletching box.
The game was getting feisty, both sides looking for the win. Ringmer were hit with another sin bin period, this time for Adam Burton, but even with 10 men, Ringmer continued with renewed vigour as they looked for winner. With minutes left, they thought they had found it, when another long ball was missed by the Fletching back line and Watson rounded keeper, ready to slot home for 3-2 win only to see the linesman raise his flag.
Neither side could find a winner and a competitive match ended all square, just as it had done a week before. An excellent 2nd half recovery from the 2s, with MOM Charlie Weller impressive in left back role.
Ringmer AFC 3s – 2-1 – Brighton Medical School
The 3s made it two wins on the trot with hard fought victory against a competitive Brighton Medical School side. With injuries, including top scorer Bolteho-Simmons and player unavailability, there were 3 immediate changes to the starting line-up which beat Lancing 48 hrs before, Pirie, Mansbridge and Dean coming into the line-up.
Ringmer started well and dominated proceedings for the first ten minutes but were undone by a long ball, assisted by strong wind, which found the BMS striker who calmly slotted home. Ringmer were knocked back a little and took time to get back into their rhythm. Just before half time a great ball from substitute Earle, led to foul in box on Nussey, allowing James Peck to convert his 2nd goal in two games. 1-1, game on.
BMS started well again in 2nd half, missing couple of good chances as the Ringmer defensive shape lost its way a little. Changes were made, gradually Ringmer started to find their way again and with 7 mins to go, a great cutback from striker Jonathon Nussey was dispatched coolly by Ben Earle to put Ringmer 2-1 up.
Ringmer defensive stability returned with MOM, Sam Gayford, excellent at full back and despite a final push by BMS, Ringmer held firm. Not quite the free flowing football from the previous game, but the side showed they can win games when not at their best. The team is growing and improving all the time, earlier in the season that would have been a defeat.