Herstmonceux’s draw against competitive Seaford

16th July

An action-packed game on the 3G pitch at Seaford leisure centre saw Herstmonceux hold 5-5 last night, after going into an early 3-0 lead.

The game was split into three 30-minute blocks, so this could definitely be classed as a game of 3 halves, as both sides took turns to hold the ascendancy.

Manager Gaz Newton had three new players to look at, but still put together a competitive side. The game was played at a fast pace (as is often the case on these surfaces) and ‘Ceux got their reward early on when TC Johnston struck a well-taken free kick into the bottom corner. 1-0. This lead was soon doubled after 15 minutes when the away side were awarded a penalty which was duly converted by Johnston.

Dan Gregory saw a headed attempt go just over. 25 minutes good work from Shearing on the left saw him release Johnston on the right wing who made ground then delivered an inch-perfect cross for debutant Carl Duncan to smash home. 3-0 and a good 30 minutes work for Herstmonceux. Unfortunately Carl picked up a leg injury and played no further part in this game.

The second period was a different story. Seaford came out with more purpose, and within minutes had pulled one back as the away defence seemed to switch off. The reds were beginning to press as belief flowed back into their game, and for the next 5 minutes they had ‘Ceux up against the ropes, until, and against the run of play, we were awarded a penalty, which was finished by goal-machine Johnston who picked up his first hat trick of the season. 4-1.

Many teams fold at this point, but to their credit Seaford again battled back and won a penalty of their own which they scored to make it 4-2. A second penalty was awarded to them shortly after, but luckily for the visitors, it was put wide and left the score unchanged. The game now ebbed and flowed, but neither team could really put together any decent movements, until Charlie Shearing picked up the ball on the right, beat the defence and finished to make the score 5-2 to Herstmonceux, which is how the second period finished.

Manager Newton was now making regular rolling substitutions, and Jack Sutton came on at right back, showing both pace and control in the back four. Josh Sheldon and Harane Blackwood also made appearances as Herstmonceux rang the changes to combat a now rampant Seaford side. The back four were however caught flat twice in quick succession, as the home side’s nailed two more goals to make the score 5-4.

TC Johnston had two speculative efforts which curled just over the bar, as the away side sought to put this game to bed, but it was Seaford who finished the stronger, and they had several attempts blocked at the expense of corners, by a resolute Herstmonceux defence, before the inevitable leveller came to make this game ‘honours even’ at 5-5.

This was very much an experimental side and not reflective of the normal line up, but at the end of the day, that is what friendlies are for, and it gave the Manager an opportunity to look at 3 more players. Despite giving up a 3-goal lead, Herstmonceux showed good resilience and Ade Fermin was impressive in the middle of the park, adding the linkage to many good moves between the back 4 and midfield. The appetite for goals and the competitive nature of the front line, will mean that many East Sussex teams will need to at their best to keep us at bay this season.

The next game for Herstmonceux is a home friendly against Willingdon on 20th July at Lime Cross, kick off is at 2pm.