Crawley Down Recover from Calamitous Start
By Richard Munn
After a superb away performance last week in a 2-2 draw against high flying Haywards Heath Town the Anvils faced a youthful Eastbourne United side at the Haven on Saturday.
Unbelievably due to the recent inclement weather it was the first game at the Haven since 23 December. To say the game started badly for Crawley Down would be the understatement of the year so far. Only 45 seconds had elapsed when a long thrown in seemed to mesmerise the home defence and they stood transfixed as Dean Stewart-Hunter nodded the ball home past a stunned Seb Bos in the Anvils goal. In truth, with the impressive Callum Hart running the show the visitors could have been 3-0 up after 15 minutes before the Anvils belatedly realised they were in a real contest. The rest of the half was fairly even but a 1-0 half time lead did nor flatter a spirited Eastbourne United side. Playing with the benefit of the almost mythical slope in the second period it was almost inevitable that the home side would improve. It only took four minutes after the restart before the tide turned. A clumsy foul on Billy Wraight at the edge of the area provided the opportunity for Sam Cane to show all his experience to coolly convert from the spot. The visitors were convinced that the offence occurred outside the area but their vehement and persistent protests fell on deaf ears. After 64 minutes the Anvils were awarded a free kick around 30 yards from goal. Irrepressible man of the match, Michael Belli, floated in a great cross, Sam Cane looked to connect with his head but only succeeded in completely deceiving Phil Hawkins in the Eastbourne United goal and the ball nestled untouched in the corner of the net. To their credit the visitors never gave up and fought to the end. Keeper Hawkins made some superb saves most notably from substitute Ethan O’Shea. Fellow substitute Williams Peauroux went very close just before the end but it finished 2-1 to a relieved Anvils side. It was not pretty but after such a disastrous start it was a good comeback and a valuable three points.
Crawley Down Gatwick: Seb Bos, Billy Wraight, Sonny Barton, Michael Spence, Marc Pelling, Sam Packham, Ben Wilson, Michael Belli, Johden De Meyer, Sam Cane (Ethan O’Shea), Lee Thomas (Williams Peauroux). Unused Subs: Lewis Croal, Louis Bradford, Josh Alcock.
Author: Donal Barrett