Saltdean United 2 Crawley Down Gatwick 2
By Richard Munn
The Anvils travelled to Hill Park on Saturday to take on Saltdean United still smarting from their Peter Bentley Cup semi-final exit to Horsham YMCA on Wednesday.
Having lost to the Tigers 4-0 at the Haven last October there was also a need to salvage some pride. The visitors enjoyed the better of the early exchanges without looking particularly threatening in attack. However, as has been the case far too often this season, from being on the front foot Crawley Down conceded not just once but twice in the space of three minutes, as the ever dangerous Rob O’Toole helped himself to a quick fire brace. Both goals looked suspiciously offside with the second being particularly questionable but it was impossible to argue with the clinical nature of the finish in both cases. Once again the Anvils were called on to display some resilience and they duly did so. Just six minutes had elapsed following the hammer blow of conceding a second before a great through ball found the mercurial Oli Leslie bearing down on goal. It looked for all the world as if had over run the ball and that the chance was gone but at the last moment he poked out a telescopic leg and diverted the ball gently past the keeper into the left hand corner of the net. It was coolness personified. Half time was reached with the home side 2-1 ahead. If anything the second half was even more competitive and feisty than the first. Credit has to go to referee David Ellis for contributing to a free flowing encounter without the need to brandish unnecessary yellow cards at every juncture. Saltdean had a great chance to finish the game off when they were awarded what seemed like a fairly soft penalty for hand ball. However Rob O’Toole was thwarted in his hat trick attempt by a superb save by young keeper, Lorcan Healy, who saved low down at his right hand post. At the other end the Anvil’s equaliser was a disaster for the equally young Saltdean keeper, Jordan Hawkins. After 65 minutes he sliced an attempted clearance high into the air and Oli Leslie doubled his tally with a simple header from close range. It was impossible not to feel for the keeper who apart from that mishap had been very assured. It is lonely being a goal keeper. Both sides had chances to win the game in the closing stages but in the end a draw seemed the fairest outcome. Only Eastbourne Town with twelve have more draws than the eleven notched up by Crawley Down this season. What might have been.
Crawley Down Gatwick: Lorcan Healy, Connor Baston, Josh Martin (Billy Wraight), Williams Peauroux, Sam Packham, James Day, Lee Thomas (Jorge Tejera), Mike Spence, Sam Cane, Oli Leslie, Jamie Hillwood (Dan Sullivan).