STCFC 2 – 3 Crawley Down Gatwick
An excellent second half performance from the Barrowmen was not enough to snatch any points on Tuesday evening against Crawley Down Gatwick.
On the back of an opening day drubbing by title favourites Eastbourne Town Steyning looked hesitant and nervous during the opening exchanges. CDG sensed this and were very vibrant and tenacious during this period and raced in to a two goal lead. Both goals were very poor from the home sides point of view. Firstly Town failed to clear their lines on 3 or 4 occasions, deciding to pass within their own box, the ball eventually being skewed to Wood who drove home low from 12 yards out.
Soon after this Wood scored again, pouncing on a suicidal cross field pass from defence, playing a neat one two and finishing tidily pass Rose, standing in for the injured JJ. Things were not going well, Town were struggling to get a foothold in the game and half time could not come soon enough.
Steyning tweaked the formation at half time, reverting to a flat back four and the change in confidence was almost immediate. Suddenly the visitors were on the back foot and pinned in their own half. Town were quicker, faster, sharper in the tackle and moving the ball around well. The introduction of Faber and Romain seemed to lift the side even more, Faber winning a number of great 50:50 challenges. Town had a goal disallowed for a marginal offside as Timms bundled over the line after a free kick was fumbled. Frustration!! Grabbing one goal back would change the whole complexion of the game. And soon enough it came. Radmore, who had been full of running all night got on the end of a looped ball from Bacon, nodded past the onrushing keeper and finished calmly. Our first goal in this division for 30 years…..and game on. Minutes later it was 2-2 and ecstasy for Steyning as Radmore again scored, driving a low shot at the keeper which squeezed through his grasp and over the line.
After this it seemed like their could only we one winner as Town continued to apply the pressure. Rose in the Town goal rendered a near spectator for second half. Benson added fresh legs up front to stretch the visitors further. Romain volleyed over and a series of corners came to nothing.
However their was a late sting in the tail for Town, as the otherwise impressive Clark upended a CDG player twisting away from goal on the edge of the box, with minutes remaining and Leslie stepped up to calmly convert the kick. This totally knocked the stuffing out of Town as tey could not quite believe what had happened and the ref blew full time minutes later.
Desperately unlucky for Steyning. Based on how the two halves panned out Town will feel they were more than worthy of a point, but fair play to Crawley Down Gatwick for nicking the late win. 3 points on the road is never to be sniffed at.
On a positive the second half performance will give great heart and confidence to The Barrowmen as they adjust to life in this division, and will give a big boost as they head to Kent based Lordswood for their FA cup tie on Saturday.
Steyning: Rose, White, Gathern (capt) , Timms, Maher, Clark, Bull, Haulkham, Myers, Bacon, Radmore.
Subs used Benson, Faber, Romain. Not used Parazo, Hands.