Monday, 7 October 2013

Crawley Town U18 1 v 2 Barnet U18

Saturday 5th October 2013
Football League Youth Alliance Cup Southern Section Group 5
Tinsley Lane, Three Bridges
Admission and programme: N/A
Attendance: 47 (head count)
Match Rating: 3

I decided to take in a morning game today which, although it would mean a revisit after several years for me, did allow me the opportunity to double up with a game at Billingshurst this afternoon. It is not always easy or even permissible for spectators to watch youth team games, and Crawley play some of their games at their Bewbush training ground, however Crawley confirmed during the week that this game would take place on a Senior football ground.

Tinsley Lane, home of Sussex League Division Two outfit Oakwood, is about a half hour walk south from Gatwick Airport. Three Bridges station is a little closer, but the walk from Gatwick station is more interesting, as one walks through the terminal building and then alongside the main airport runway through a crowd of plane spotters with their binoculars and notebooks blocking the pavement. The ground has not noticeably changed since my last visit, apart from the addition of a couple of currently unused portakabins. One enters in one corner, and along the length is a spacious clubhouse, whilst overhang from the clubhouse provides plenty of cover for standing room with a small number of chairs scattered around. No other seating is present in the ground, with hard standing only present along the clubhouse length and goal line closest to the entrance. It is a rural looking venue, spacious with plenty of greenery although a constant traffic noise is generated from an adjacent dual carriageway. No programmes or teamsheets were produced for this game.

On a warm, overcast but occasionally sunny morning, Barnet very much started on the front foot and deservedly took the lead on 12 minutes when a downward header from a corner found the bottom left hand corner of the net despite the keeper getting a faint touch on the ball. Barnet continued to play the better football throughout the first half and did most of the attacking, although both teams had good chances to score.

Into the second half and the game became more balanced, Barnet probably still just about shading it though and they doubled their lead on 52 minutes from another corner, this time deflected into the net with a foot. On 63 minutes, Crawley were given the opportunity of getting back into the game when they were awarded a penalty for a trip. It was placed low into the bottom left corner of the net by Bradley Isaacs with the keeper diving the other way. They rarely looked like getting the equaliser they didn't really deserve though as Barnet continued to create the better chances, none more so than when a free kick hit the post on 84 minutes, but in the end it didn't matter as they claimed the win.

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