Posted by: musinganorak | August 23, 2010

Sussex Not By The Sea

Tonight sees me heading to Sussex for a game in Sussex County League Division 2. “Ah, Sussex” you might think. Quaint towns overlooking the English Channel, or cute villages nestling in the Downs. To be fair it has got it’s fair share of both of those. And then there is Crawley. The distinctly un-lovely part of the county. And Oakwood is situated at the end of a scruffy track in the heart of the industrial area. Quaint it ain’t! Oh, and the weather was more late September than mid August with a constant drizzle occasionally becoming a full blown shower.

I had time en-route to pay a visit to the Bell Inn in Outwood, bringing me 1 closer to re-completing the Surrey section of the GBG. It is aptly named as there is indeed a very large bell situated by the front door.

The game I have come to see is Oakwood v Midhurst & Easebourne. The reason for picking this game, over and above the fact that it is a new ground, is that I am friends with the Midhurst goalkeeper and try to get see him play once in a while.

The visitors started the game the brighter and were all over their hosts. They had by the majority of the first 15 minutes, the point at which Oakwood made their first real foray in to an attacking position and from where they calmly scored from a one-on-one with the ‘keeper. 5 minutes later and it was 2-0 when they scored from a corner. The initial shot was well saved but the rebound was scuffed in to the ground causing it to loop out of Willo’s reach and in to the back of the net. The remainder of the half was all Midhurst. Apart from the point when Oakwood had another one-on-one and this time managed to slide the ball through the ‘keeper’s legs to go in at the break 3-0 up. I have never before seen such a one-sided game that wasn’t reflected in the scoreline. I reckon that Midhurst had around 65% of the possession, a fact not borne out by the score.

Words were obviously said at half time and Midhurst piled even more pressure on the home side. This time they were rewarded with a goal, a superbly taken free kick that was sweetly volleyed back in to the opposite corner of the goal. Shortly afterwards they pulled another goal back when they intercepted a poor pass and had an empty goal to shoot in to. The second half was all Midhurst, and when Oakwood had a player sent off it seemed only a matter of time before the scores were level. That point arrived on 80 minutes and at that point you would have got very short odds on the visitors taking all three points. Incredibly the sending off and equaliser seemed to spark Oakwood in to life and the last 10 minutes were end to end with both sides going all out for a winner. It ended 3-3 but it really could have gone either way.

Mid August and I feel sure I had just witnessed one of my best games of the season. Midhurst were totally dominant throughout the game and yet in the end were probably quite relieved to get a point. If I get another game half as good this before the end of May then I will be a very happy man.

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