Shoreham leave it late to deny Billingshurst - report and pictures
John Lansdale’s late penalty won Shoreham a point in a fractious and hostile Southern Combination League Division One game at home to Billingshurst.
Lansdale’s late thumping penalty cancelled out Sam Bull’s seventh goal of the season at Middle Road.
There were plenty of early chances for both teams; Shoreham winger Scott Clampin’s deflected cross just missed an unmarked midfielder Joel Sayers in the area, whilst Ramon Santos forced a save as his 40 yard low strike caught the visitor’s Andy Barr off his line. Billingshurst’s Sam Bull half-volleyed into the arms of Ricardo Alves shortly after as the ball dug into the ground and bounced softly at the host’s ‘keeper.
The game was stop-start and genuine chances dissipated later in the half, making way for stoppages, petty fouls, and referee lectures. Lansdale’s long-range free-kick caught low was about as dangerous as the game had become. But as half-time approached Sam Bull headed in from the far post from a Tom Edward’s cross from deep with expert precision. Edwards looped the ball in from the right and 20 yards from the byline when it connected with Bull as keeper Alves hesitated to collect. Half-time Shoreham 0 - 1 Billingshurst
The second half disappointed in quality just as much as the first. The game was dominated by persistent fouling and bitter squabbling between the teams - Shoreham ‘keeper Alves drawing a reaction from the Billingshurst squad as he fought for the ball in taking a free kick. Alves was booked for his own protests as the teams clashed early in the second half.
Mark Pulling and Danny Jones were brought on for Shoreham in an attempt to harness experience and youth in finding an equaliser - a positive spate of corners and free-kicks going Shoreham’s way over the first 25 minutes followed the changes. Shoreham’s Levi Martin couldn’t connect with a bouncing ball which could have led to a Tom Edwards’ second, if not for the strong arms of Ricardo Alves as he raced out of his goal to parry wide. But this was the only real opportunity to come as the game struggled to produce the quality to secure a result either way.
With less than 15 minutes to go Ramon Santos was alleged to have been pulled during a corner a few yards from goal with the referee pointing to the spot, and Billingshurst incredulous - there had been no claims. Lansdale placed the ball hard into the bottom left corner with the ‘keeper diving the right way, but not far enough to keep out the equaliser. Other than Scott Clampin’s booking for Shoreham - following the goal’s heated aftermath between the teams - the game had little left to give. The floodlights had long been lighting up Middle Road as the referee blew his whistle for full-time - Billingshurst left to rue Edward’s missed opportunity to end the game earlier on. Full-time result: Shoreham 1-1 Billingshurst
Verdict: Shoreham have faltered in recent weeks; and given their reverse fixture win they could have seen this game as an opportunity to get back on track. Billingshurst, however, have a habit of drawing results from teams better-placed in the table - as their draw away to dominant Midhurst and Easebourne last week attests. The ‘Hurst have proved to be a resolute side this season and with other results - such as beating Premier Division high-flyers Newhaven FC last month - show that they will play a part in the promotion places - even if they aren’t in them.