Extra Preliminary Round
Hailsham Town 5 Crawley Down Gatwick 7
The scoreline might be unbelievable, but yes it did actually happen, and the old cliche of a game of two halves might well have been made for this match as both sides slugged this goalfest out under a cloudless sky.
With the game held up due to an official being late, the match was slightly late in starting, not that it affected either side.
Against the run of play the Stringers went in front on nine minutes when Anvil full-back Harry Lowe made a mess of a clearance that led to Charlie Levi setting up Sam Divall to open up the Stringers’ account.
Anvils’ Kieran Boylan went just wide with his first shot and on 16 minutes the Stringers were opened up again allowing Kieran Greig to slide the ball home.
Striker Boylan took a Greig pass to put the Anvils in front 2-1, then on 27 minutes it was Sam Cane having his shot cannon back off the bar.
Down went 3-2 up after 37 minutes when Boylan again got free to cut inside and notch his second.
Cane added more misery when heading home a Greig cross to make it 4-1 five minutes later.
Boylan registered his first hat-trick in Anvil colours when converting another cross field ball as the Anvils led 5-1 at half-time..
Game, set and match surely as the second half started, even allowing for the loss of skipper Blair Cooney (ankle) replaced by Sonny Barton, as the Anvils pressed forward with Boylan just firing another Greig cross just wide, on the hour mark just after Cane had blazed over a Pelling cross, the game took a dramatic turn.
Firstly Divall was becoming more prominent going near on a couple of occasions forcing Anvil custodian Andy Greaves having to save with his knees, but Divall went one better when converting another cross for 5-2.
Oli Leslie, who came on for Boylan, converted a brilliant Josh Brown evading run to make it 6-2.
But Hailsham fought back on 70 minutes as sub Billy Taylor then got on the end of another free-kick for 6-3.
With home support going throough the roof, and Anvils’ Pelling taking an early bath, their was just one team in it, and an almighty scramble in the Anvils goal mouth resulted in midfielder Lewis Parsons poking home for 6-4.
Temporary sanity was restored on 80 minutes when Myles Pitt scored from an acute angle to boost the Anvil gap to 7-4, but no it still wasn’t over with arch predator Divall notching his hat trick and the Stringers’ fifth.
Down: Greaves, Cooney (Barton), Lowe, Spence, Pelling, Day, Greig (Pitt), Belli, Boylan (Leslie), Cane, Brown
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