Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Crowborough Athletic 2 v 3 East Preston (aet)

Tuesday 20th August 2013
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay
Alderbrook Recreation Ground, Crowborough
Admission with programme: £6.00
Attendance: 75
Match Rating: 4

After a false start last Tuesday when the league game against Shoreham was postponed due to floodlight issues at the Alderbrook – overhanging trees causing too low Lux readings around part of the pitch – tonight I took in my first Crowborough home game of the season in an FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay, between two teams in the Sussex County League Division One.

The Alderbrook Recreation Ground has not seen any alterations in the close season. Not that it needed any, it remains a very neat and smart stadium with excellent facilities for the Sussex County League.  Admission price has remained the same and still includes a programme. Crowborough have produced a good programme in recent seasons, but it has been improved on this season, with a very colourful and professional look, and plenty of information about the squad and recent results.

Quirks of the football fixtures have meant that this would be the third time that the two clubs have met in the ten days since the league season  started – indeed, Crowborough have only played East Preston so far this season. After East Preston quite comfortably won at the Alderbrook on the opening day of the season 0-3, the first game in this FA Cup tie was much closer, ending in a 0-0 stalemate, although apparently East Preston certainly had the better chances to win the tie at the first time of asking on Saturday. They won their other league game so far this season 1-4 at Selsey. Last season, East Preston finished third in the Sussex League Division One, whilst Crowborough finished 15th.

On a warm and sunny evening, East Preston dominated the opening exchanges, but from pretty much their first attack on goal, Crowborough took the lead on nine minutes when Jason Barton, a member on Tunbridge Wells’ FA Vase Final team back in May, met a corner with his head and although his header wasn’t particularly powerful, it made its way to the back of the net through a crowd of players.  East Preston continued to dominate the game after this setback, so it was no surprise when they drew level on 25 minutes through Tom Livett. They continued to look much more the likely to score up to half time, but the score remained at 1-1. It wasn’t a pretty half of football, with the ball frequently being drilled high upfield at every available opportunity by both sides.

Into the second half and Crowborough’s already tough task became even tougher when substitute Wayne Clarke was sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession. Indeed, East Preston seemed to look to capitalise on a rather erratic and inconsistent performance by the referee by frequent moaning and overreacting to seemingly innocuous challenges, and for a period of about ten minutes, Crowborough’s players did threaten to lose their discipline. On 72 minutes, they fell behind for the first time in the tie when Joe Shelley scored, but Crowborough really seemed to up their game after falling behind, and managed to get an equaliser on 79 minutes when Sam Carrington headed in a free kick. The tie could have gone either way for the remainder of the 90 minutes as Crowborough continued to look a more threatening side.

However, with the scores tied at 2-2, the match entered extra time, and so it remained at half time in extra time. On 110 minutes, East Preston went back into the lead through Darren Boswell, a lead which they held on to fairly comfortably in the end, with players of both sides collapsing in heaps at the final whistle after 120 minutes of all-action football. East Preston will not travel to Combined Counties League outfit Colliers Wood United in the next round.

No comments: