Thursday, 30 April 2015

The JC Tackleway 2 v 3 Wittersham

Wednesday 29th April 2015
Barley Lane, Hastings
East Sussex League Division Two
Admission and Programme: None
Attendance: 23 (head count)
Match Rating: 3

This evening I made my second visit of the season to Barley Lane, mainly due to the fact it was the only early evening kick off taking place in East Sussex and I recalled it being a pleasant enough place to watch football, in fine weather conditions at least.

There was not much riding on this game in all honesty. The JC Tackleway were already guaranteed a runners-up spot and with it a promotion berth, with ten wins and a draw from their fourteen league games. Wittersham had a little more left to play for, coming into this game in sixth place in the nine team division, with seven wins and two draws from their fourteen games but would finish in third place if they were to win their last two games. When the two teams met way back in September, the game finished 2-2.

On a sunny but breezy evening, this match started quite evenly, both teams forcing good saves from the keepers, and the only real surprise was that it took until first half stoppage time for the first goal to arrive, and it went to the visitors. A free kick looped in diagonally from the left took a deflection, and Jonjo Andrews instinctively poked the ball home to give Wittersham the lead going into the break.

That lead might have been unexpected considering the respective league positions, but things got even better for Wittersham five minutes after the break. The ball was curled into the area from distance, and Nathan Jackson just managed to get a touch on the ball just before the keeper could get there, and the ball went slowly over the line. The home side almost pulled a goal back on the hour mark, when the JC Tackleway striker hooked the ball goalwards past the keeper, but a defender managed to acrobatically clear the ball on the line. The reprieve was to last just five minutes though, with the keeper at fault, failing to hold onto the ball having caught it from a corner, and the loose ball was tapped home by Danny Noakes. The home side were having their best period of the match now, seeing a header tipped over on 74 minutes, but they did score an equaliser on 78 minutes, when the ball was crossed from the left, and the ball was headed into the corner of the net with the keeper flat footed. The game really could have gone either way in the last ten minutes, but in the end it was Wittersham who retook the lead two minutes from time. The ball was looped in towards the edge of the area, and Nathan Sherwood controlled the ball before sweeping in a lovely shot on the turn which hit the inside of the far post and bounced into the net. Wittersham held on during the remaining minutes, and so rose to fourth in the table, and would finish the season in third place with a win in their final game on Saturday - although that game is at home to champions Eastbourne Rangers, who have won 13 of their 15 games.

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