After last week’s 6 aside it was a case of fitting everyone in as we stretched the pitch to accommodate 18 F&O players with 1,664 caps between them. There was also 128 caps of official as Brenchley took the whistle as he continues his recovery from a bad back and now a hamstring strain.
With a lot of pre-match discussion revolving around the old famous ‘lack of balance’ it seemed somewhat inevitable the match would be tight. And that it was as we witnessed an attritional match, between two competitive sides played in a good spirit.
Skins started the better and seemed to be getting a grip in the midfield, again against the general jist of the pre-match comments. The 9 aside also meant tactics were important with Bibs playing two at the back and packing the midfield with Skins opting for a back three.
The very first opportunity of the match fell to Andy Beebee who smashed the ball over the fence and almost into the houses behind the goal. At the other end Ridley was running the channels and Chaz was having a strong first half as Skins become more and more of an attacking force.
The first goal came from a corner which Bibs failed to clear. Wilson with one final attempt to hack found his clearance hit Eason’s slide challenge and the ball went straight in past Tricker in goal.
Skins were now playing some nice football and midfield quartet of Lamprell, Sandwich, Eason & Southwell were keeping the ball well.
Southwell almost scored a wonder goal when he pulled the ball out of the air beat his man but some good goal keeping denied him.
Ridley with half of East Brighton to himself raced clear, but the 51.5 year old veteran took about 20% of his life time to attempt a shot. In that time Hunt done well to get a challenge in. Queue disgust from Ridley who was angry none of the younger members of the team made him aware of the incoming challenge.
At the other end the much maligned keeper Rich Lamprell pulled off two wonder saves. First from Dallinger with a near spectacular own goal and then a miraculous save from Beebee as he pushed the ball over the bar with the ball already behind him.
Just before half time Bibs managed to get on level terms as for the first time Skins defensive shape was lacking. Greenwood nipped in at the back post to fire home and 1-1 at half time.
Straight back into the second half and the game continued to be end to end with both teams showing great desire and commitment. Bibs were now starting to get more of a hold in the midfield with Curry his usual industrious self as he stretched the play by starting slightly wider right.
Wilson was a threat from the back as Skins were now giving ground and his long range pings were both accurate and dangerous. A Wilson cross hit the post and then a big scramble ensued as Skins through a mixture of brave defending and good keeping, kept the score line level.
Southwell showed his fine keeping skills by denying a Bibs attacker as they went through 1-1.
Skins weren’t offering a huge amount going forward until Eason AKA ‘The white Mark Walters’ decided to run Mitchell down the left. I’m not sure who was more surprised Jason or Eason’s team mates as when he got in a left foot cross on the bye-line there was little in the way of support.
With the clock running down the 9pm players took to the field with 3 minutes of play remaining. The early finish probably benefited Skins who were holding on slightly towards the end.
MOTM – Tom Green – Nothing got past the pacey defender as he marshalled the back line well and consistently thwarted Bibs attacks.