Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Crowborough Athletic 0 v 3 Little Common

Tuesday 22nd October 2013
Sussex Senior Cup First Round
Alderbrook Recreation Ground, Crowborough
Admission including programme : £6.00
Attendance: 80 (estimate)
Match Rating: 2

My first visit to the Alderbrook in six weeks was for some Sussex Senior Cup action, with an interesting looking game between two teams going well in the Sussex County League, but with a division separating the two teams.

Crowborough went into this game in sixth place in Division One although they have had a little wobble in recent times, losing two of their last three games and bowing out of the Sussex RUR Charity Cup 0-3 at home to Littlehampton Town last Tuesday, although they did win in the FA Vase on Saturday to set up a mouthwatering tie against local rivals and 2013 FA Vase Runners-Up Tunbridge Wells next month.

Little Common, who would be playing in Division One this season had their ground been suitable, are in fourth place in Division Two, just a point off the leaders and are top scorers in the division having scored 35 goals in 11 games, but were knocked out of both other cups they have entered so far this season, to Division One opposition. These two sides faced each other at the same stage in last year’s competition at Little Common, with Crowborough winning on penalties after a 3-3 draw.

After a day of heavy rain showers, it became dry for the match although the rain had certainly taken its toll on the pitch. With the match kicking off five minutes late due to the late arrival of some of the Little Common players after being delayed in traffic, the game started evenly, with little adventure being shown by either side, and one felt that strategy would certainly benefit the lower division team more. And indeed it was Little Common who took the lead on 24 minutes. A free-kick from near the half way line was taken short and dribbled towards goal and the eventual low shot seemed to slightly deceive the keeper who could only parry the ball wide to Jamie Crone, who fired the ball home from a slight angle. The rest of the half was fairly quiet and so it was the underdogs who claimed a narrow half time lead which was just about deserved.

The second half, surprisingly, was more of the same, as Crowborough struggled to get any fluidity to their play and their players grew increasingly frustrated with proceedings and each other. On 65 minutes, they gifted their visitors a more comfortable lead. A Crowborough defender got tangled up in trying to pass the ball back to his keeper, but Lewis Hole reached the ball first to stride forward before tapping into an empty net. On 78 minutes, Crowborough almost got back in the game when a curling cross to the far post evaded the keeper and defenders and Chris Ransome hit the ball powerfully across goal but his shot came back off the post. That miss was to prove costly as on 88 minutes, they conceded another sloppy goal. A poor free kick in from the wing was easily headed up field and into the path of Adam Smith, who strode forward with the ball unchallenged before eventually slotting the ball coolly past the keeper. So a surprisingly emphatic victory for the underdogs which they deserved as Crowborough just didn’t turn up tonight and deserved what they got. A disappointing aspect of the evening was the so-called “Crow Army”.  Encouraged by the club in the last couple of weeks to create some noise and atmosphere, this group of teenagers mindlessly screamed pointless, foul-mouthed and abusive chants frequently throughout the match, and it was very pleasing to note that following this game, the Crowborough chairman has announced that  this group of people will no longer be welcome at matches. A very wise move, before Crowborough’s reputation is besmirched.

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