Monday, 14 April 2014

Battle Baptists 2 v 0 Sedlescombe Rangers

Saturday 12th April 2014
East Sussex League Division One
Recreation Ground, Battle
Admission and programme: None
Attendance: 18 (head count)
Match Rating: 3

There were three things that swayed me to head for Battle today. Battle Baptists has long since intrigued me as a Christian club that also plays in the National Christian Cup - reaching the final last season, played at Northampton Town's stadium. Today's match would also be a key game between two of the top three teams in the division, and it also represented an opportunity to take in two games, with Battle's second string playing immediately after this game.

The Battle Recreation Ground is situated just to the north of the town and is a very pleasant basic venue to watch football at on a sunny day. With the pitch situated on a slope, excellent views of the match can be had from the top of a grass bank along one length. Surrounded by trees, greenery and distant views into the country, venues like this are exactly what makes grass roots football at rural venues very appealing, where the setting can be enjoyed even if the football itself is not the best.

Coming into this game, Sedlescombe topped the division with 28 points from 13 games, three points and two places ahead of Battle Baptists, having played a game more. The Baptists won last time out 1-6 away at Icklesham, after bowing out of this year's National Christian Cup at the semi final stage. Sedlescombe have been scoring goals for fun recently, with 31 goals in their last six league and cup games. When the two teams met in late November, the match finished 1-1.

On a hazy afternoon but with a very strong gusty wind, this match was a disappointingly scrappy affair for a top of the table clash, perhaps caused by the conditions, with too much reliance on long balls. Indeed, it was those conditions that contributed to the opening goal for the home side on 25 minutes. A high cross into the box from close to the left touchline about 30 yards out swirled and gathered pace in the wind, with the flight of the ball deceiving the keeper, the ball hitting the corner of crossbar and post, and the rebound was hooked in from close range by Adam Thompsett. There was little threat at either goal for the remainder of the half, although Battle certainly deserved their one goal lead at half time as Sedlescombe just never seemed to get going in the first half.

Sedlescombe had the strong gusty wind behind them in the second half and they indeed were the better team after the interval, having the majority of possession without being able to carve out good goalscoring opportunities, and it was Battle who had the much better chances to score in their rare ventures forward, hitting the post and having a (rather tame) shot cleared off the line, but with literally the last kick of the game, Battle scored their second, Adam Johnson racing onto the ball and stabbing it high into the net just before the goalkeeper could get to the ball. The final whistle blew immediately afterwards, and Battle claimed what could be a crucial three points in the race for promotion and perhaps the title, although Hollington II are nine points behind with four games in hand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

After this game Seddlescombe went on to win the remainder of there leagues games to clinch the title which was then followed up by victory in the cup final to complete a glorious double winning season! Up the Seds!! :D