Collins' inspired display keeps Golds' survival hopes alive

Striker Charlie Pitcher bagged his first Littlehampton Town goal in the draw at Eastbourne Town. Picture by Derek Martin
Striker Charlie Pitcher bagged his first Littlehampton Town goal in the draw at Eastbourne Town. Picture by Derek Martin

Littlehampton Town Football Club loanee goalkeeper Jack Collins produced a dazzling display to keep his team in with a chance of Southern Combination League Premier Division survival on Saturday.

Collins, on loan from League One Portsmouth, pulled off a number of fine stops as basement boys Golds twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw at Eastbourne Town.

Second half strikes from midfielder Grant Thetford, his third in as many matches, and striker Charlie Pitcher, his first goal since joining in March, gave Littlehampton what could prove to be a valuable point in their battle to beat the drop.

The draw leaves Golds two points adrift of place-above Arundel having played a game more and Eastbourne United and Hassocks - both teams in the bottom five - won on Saturday to move further clear of Littlehampton.

Given the fact Golds twice came from behind, it was a point interim manager Hand was pleased with.

He said: “It was a good point for us, although when the game was 2-2 with ten minutes to go we had chances to win it.

“I have to give a mention to our goalkeeper Jack. He produced the best individual performance I’ve ever seen at this level, pulling off four or five impossible saves - so much so that the home team were praising him as much as we were.”

Aaron Capon broke the deadlock a minute before the break to give Eastbourne Town a half-time lead.

Thetford fired home a penalty four minutes after the restart to get Golds back level.

Town were then awarded a spot-kick of their own on the hour, which Luc Doherty put away, leaving Littlehampton with it all to do once again.

Golds goalkeeper Collins was pulled off save after save and his heroics were rewarded minutes later.

Striker Pitcher netted his first Littlehampton goal as it ended 2-2.

Golds were without a game this midweek but face a daunting run to end their season.

Hand’s side have four fixtures in eight days as they look to secure their SCFL Premier Division status.

A trip to Lancing on Saturday is followed by a home clash with Loxwood three days later.

Golds then face rivals Arundel at Mill Road on Thursday before entertaining Eastbourne United - both teams in the bottom five at present - the following Saturday as their survival bid hots up.

It’s a run Hand hopes his side can handle.

He added: “We’re massive underdogs and the pressure is on teams around us. We’ve had a free week this week but then play four games next week. It doesn’t seem very logical but there’s nothing we can do.”

LITTLEHAMPTON TOWN: Collins; Storrie, Farrell, O’Hagan, Herbert; Packer, Thetford, Janman; Pattenden, Pitcher, M.Hand. Subs: D.Hand, Taylor, Curnow, Askew.