Crawley Down Gatwick 3 Loxwood 0
By Paul Cooper
On a brilliantly sunny but extremely cold day the players of Loxwood and Crawley Down put on an entertaining show for a good crowd at the Haven.
The home side started with great endeavour but the visitors gradually got into their stride and there is no doubt that they had the better of the opening 25 minutes. Home keeper Seb Bos was in inspired form and kept his team in the game with a string of saves including a brilliant double effort after 24 minutes when he first saved from Hayden Skerry and then recovered to deny Reece Hallard on the rebound. At that point Loxwood must have been wondering if it was to be their day. However, things quickly got worse for them when Ollie Gill was penalised for a tackle in the area. He seemed to win the ball but the referee deemed it to be with excessive force and awarded the penalty. The visitors were incandescent but to no avail. Williams Peauroux stroked home the penalty with his usual Gallic sang froid. Loxwood were still reeling from the perceived injustice of the penalty award when Marc Pelling made it two with a brave diving header from a left wing corner on 45 minutes. In truth a 2-0 lead was probably a bit flattering for the Anvils. The home side braced themselves for a second half onslaught that strangely never really materialised. The Anvils played some great stuff and some of the passing moves and combination play were top drawer. On 51 minutes the game was really finished as a serious contest when after a great run Mike Spence, playing in an unaccustomed right-wing role, cut into the box and his slightly mishit shot somehow found its way into the net past a startled Sam Smith in the Loxwood goal. The visitors battled to the end but suffered another blow when their inspirational skipper Byron Napper had to be substituted after sustaining a nasty injury in an accidental clash of heads. The Anvils really should have added to their tally in the closing exchanges. Substitute Lewis Croal was inches wide with a good attempt. In the 85th minute Sam Smith saved brilliantly from debutant Sam Lemon. From the resultant corner he produced an even more spectacular effort to deny Sam Packham from point blank range. Although I have no doubt that Loxwood would not agree it would be remiss not to mention that referee Nick Blogg and his assistants contributed in no small way to a free-flowing game. Indeed the ultimate compliment was that I never really noticed the referee in the second half. In the end 3-0 did not flatter the home side as they notched up another valuable three points in their quest for mid table security.
Crawley Down Gatwick: Seb Bos, Billy Wraight, Sonny Barton, Williams Peauroux, Marc Pelling, Sam Packham, Mike Spence, Michael Belli (Sam Lemon), Sam Cane (Lee Thomas), Johden de Meyer (Lewis Croal), Ben Wilson. Unused sub: James Day
Author: Donal Barrett