Peacehaven & Telscombe 2 – 2 STCFC (aet)
Gerry Murphy returns to the Town dugout!
The gaffer returned to the Town dugout on Saturday and brought the sun back with him to the always blustery Peacehaven what was the start of Towns FA Vase campaign.
Steyning fielded the same starting line up from Tuesday’s impressive win away at Saltdean but were without Benson due to injury but had White, Levoi, JJ and Kelly all available and it was the latter who returned to between the sticks to try and repeat the heroics of Mike Spence on Tuesday and keep a clean sheet!!
The game started at a fanatic pace with both sides have chances and it was our hosts first to test Kelly with a dangerous free-kick but was easily dealt with by the returning keeper.
Then it was Towns turn, on 15 minutes a neat piece of play down the left between Maher and Andrade resulted in the latter swinging the ball into the box for the ever-lively Clark to smash home past the home keeper.
After Town took the lead the game seemed to calm down a little although the weather had other ideas and unsurprisingly the wind started to increase and the hosts seem to fall into the trap of playing the ball long only for the wind to take them out of play or straight through to Kelly in goal and deprived the crowd of any real football for the remainder of the half.
The second half saw Town make a change with Timms off and the returning Levoi coming on. With the wind behind them, Town was able to get the ball down and start to play a bit more controlled football but with the hosts changing shape the boy’s were a little ragged in there passing for the first 10 minutes until they could get to grips with the formation change.
Chances came and went for both teams and when the clock hit 90 minutes Town thought they had done enough and were heading into the next round. When asked, the referee indicated 3 extra minutes and that gave the hosts the license to push 4 up forward and hope for the best, and it was then 60 seconds from the end when the hosts pressed Towns back 4 and chased down a back pass only to nick the ball in front of Kelly and score a cruel equaliser to break the Town hearts.
Town literally restarted the game then heard the final whistle, so it was to be extra time.
Both teams added their 4th subs as the rules allowed and were much needed as the efforts from both teams were to be commended.
It was the hosts who took the lead on 107 minutes with a neat finish from the tricky Lloyd and it seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Town boys.
ET HT 2-1.
With nothing to lose, Town threw everything they had at Peacehaven and it was a masterstroke from the gaffer who changed formation which resulted in Clark whipping in a delicious cross for the “cool as you like” Hands to volley home and send the away fans wild.
A few chances came and went in the final minutes but as the referee blew his whistle what felt like a defeat at 90 minutes felt a well deserved draw/reply on 120 minutes.
Credit to both sets of players and we will lock horns again on Tuesday at the Birchwood stadium ko 19.30 before heading back along the south coast next Saturday in the league, I’m sure we will be sick of the sight of black and white strips by then (in the nicest possible way).
Town are still in the “hat” and the Wembley dream is still alive for a couple of days at least.
Squad; Kelly, Clark, Maher, Pazaro, Timms, Gathern, Faber, Bull, Weston, Radmore, Andrade
Subs; Hands, Levoi, White, Haulkham