Crawley Down Gatwick lost their FA Cup extra preliminary round replay 3-1 at home to Shoreham in a contest which was a complete contrast to the first encounter at Middle Road.
The Anvils got off to the worst possible start losing both Aaron Denver and keeper Seb Bos both having to retire early after suffering severe knocks, this all happening in the first 10 mins, replacements for the duo being Tom Saunders and a debut for 16-year-old keeper Sam Jackson.
On 14 the first Anvil noise came with Josh Alcock being felled just outside the box, the resultant free-kick by Matt Gates was poor firing well over the upright, on 20 Matt Burroughs a terrier thro out was also bought down, with Ryan Fletchers freekick taking a deflection before being hacked away.
On 23 a rare sortie from the Musselmen came with midfielder Craig Anderson feeding Mickey DaMario but he in turn was unable to finish on target, followed on the half hour with a long shot from Alex Fair comfortably taken by keeper Jackson, the Anvils were protecting the stopper thro out this period, allied to a rather shot shy Mussel attack also helping the cause.
It took the Anvils 25 mins before their first corner thro Shuga’a which caused a flutter in the Mussels defence with the ball coming out to Gates again who yet again could only replicate his earlier finish, come 30 and a Saunders cross found Steve Major in space but his attempted shot was charged down.
On 37 visitors DaMario on a charge set up Anderson whose shot was half cleared only as far as Wes Millis who in turn could only find keeper Jackson, a further blow to Anvil hopes came on 45 with Shuga’a coming off worse after a tackle from the abrasive Nani Ali, suspected hamstring, replacement for Shuga’a being Ciaran Steers as the half ended all-square. FT 0-0.
For the second half the visitors had the advantage of the slope, no doubt wily campaigner and ex Anvil Millis knowing the advantage that this can be, and they soon set out their stall early with first Roberts having a shot turned away for the first corner, a second corner soon followed with it only being cleared as far as Millis who made no mistake, on 52 the score was doubled with Dunk setting up Roberts to fire home number two. 0-2 Shoreham, on the hour the visitors abrasive Ali was booked after another tasty tackle, come 65 it was game over as from another corner fullback Rob Alan rose at the far post
like the proverbial salmon to nod home their third. 0-3 Shoreham.
For the Anvils now devoid of further subs the going was tough, but they continued to push tired limbs onward, and come the hour a buildup led to a shot grazing the far post, followed by Burroughs firing wide, come 68 and a glimmer of hope for players and supporters alike as from another buildup Gates then in possession then back heeled to Steers on his right who in turn fired past bemused keeper Josh Heyburn to create the biggest cheer of the evening. 1-3 Shoreham.
For the remaining 20 mins both sides had further chances with first visitors DaMario firing straight at keeper Jackson, then the youngster brilliantly diving to his right to keep out another thunderbolt from the same player, further excursions by Saunders and then Major bought no further changes to the scoreboard as the game finished. 1-3 Shoreham.
It is apparent even at this early stage of the season that there is quite a gulf between some of these side, not only physical but the experience of playing at a higher level, we ourselves at times do move the ball around neatly at times, plus you can’t fault the commitment of the side, but one does wonder whether we can survive at this level without further stiffening of the side especially in the striking department, we know its early doors yet and Tim is no doubt aware of the problems, so we all wish him well!
Crawley Down Gatwick: Seb Bos (Sam Jackson), Matt Gates, Ben Simester, Aaron Denver (Tom Saunders), Scott Johnstone, Andy Goodwin, Mo Shuga’a (Ciaran Steers), Ryan Fletcher, Steve Major, Josh Alcock, Matt Burroughs.
Unused subs: Grant Rigler, George Wallis
Sussex Carpet Centre Man of the Match: Matt Burroughs