Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Hailsham Town 0 v 2 Pagham

Tuesday 3rd December 2013
Sussex County League Division One
The Beaconsfield, Hailsham
Admission: £5.00
Programme: 50p
Rating: 4

For this week’s midweek fare, I decided to take in yet another game in the Sussex County League with a trip to southern East Sussex for a game between two sides struggling in the league this season, particularly the home side.

The Beaconsfield is located just to the west of Hailsham town centre, half a mile away from the A22 dual carriageway north of Eastbourne, and being three miles north of the nearest train station Polegate, is not the easiest of places to get to on public transport, particularly for a midweek evening game. The ground hasn’t changed noticeable since my previous visit eight years ago, apart from licks of paints. One enters the ground by the half way line, and to the right there is a modern metallic all-seater stand, and to the left is a covered terrace area with a few steps of terrace, although with barely any incline between the steps. To the rear of this stand are two refreshment hatches, one for food and the other for drinks. Between this stand and the corner flag is a windowless portakabin that doesn’t obviously seem to serve any purpose, and behind one of the goals is a brick building housing the changing rooms and clubhouse. Hard standing is available behind this goal and along the other length, whilst there is just grass behind the remaining goal, where spectators are seemingly not intended to be. It’s a pleasant ground, neat and tidy and with trees lining one length and a neat hedgerow the other, and there is generally a friendly and welcoming feel to the place. The programme was very basic and was a double issue covering last Saturday’s home game too, and consisted of eight pages inside advertising pages. It had all the essentials including league results and table and a welcome message, although there was no information on the visiting teams apart from the expected team line-ups, but at just 50p it would be harsh to criticise too much.

Hailsham have had an extremely disappointing season so far, with just seven points from their opening 14 games, although three of those came on Saturday at home to second places Hassocks. Before that, they had lost their previous five league games, after losing their opening five games. They were second bottom of the division going into this game, six points adrift of the next team above. Pagham were in twelfth place in the twenty team division, with 17 points from their 15 games played, and had drawn four of their last five games, winning the other at home against rock bottom Worthing United.

After an energetic opening to the game, the visitors took the lead with just three minutes on the clock. The ball was played into the box, and Scott Murfin had all the time in the world to spin around and place his shot inside the far post. This was the last thing Hailsham needed, struggling in the league but having been buoyed by Saturday’s excellent result, but they played some good football and on 7 minutes, saw a cross come back off the crossbar. The game continued at a lively pace, with both teams looking likely to score, and on 25 minutes, Pagham had a shot desperately saved from close range by the keeper’s feet, and then almost immediately Hailsham saw a long range shot parried unconvincingly just wide of the goal. On 38 minutes, Hailsham were reduced to ten men when the last man pulled a striker back as he ran towards goal. From the resultant free kick, the ball hit the left hand post. On the stroke of half time, Pagham doubled their advantage when a cross was looped in from the left and James Temple just beat the keeper in the air to head the ball into the empty net

A two goal deficit and a man down meant things looked bleak for Hailsham, however they started the second half very positively, creating some good openings, but an apparent reluctance to shoot towards goal meant they did not create real gilt-edged chances. As the second half wore on, Hailsham threatened less and less, with the visitors looking more likely to score the next goal, and the closest the home side got to pulling a goal back was deep into added on time when a glancing header went just wide of the post. So another disappointing result for Hailsham, but they played some good football at times this evening, but their lack of quality up front meant it was for the most part wasted and it looks like being a long old season for them, whilst Pagham look set for a comfortable mid-table finish

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