With Glovers Lane being unavailable the ‘away’ match for the Reserves against Sidley was switched to Fort Road on Saturday but could not match the excitement of Thursday night’s cup match at Hassocks as the match ended goalless.
With a much changed squad due to injury, unavailability and first team call ups there was a chance for players who had not featured much recently. In came Rob Brown, Luke Chatterley, Sam Leppard, Ben Smith, Matt Harrison, Ian Robinson and Ebou Jallow who was unavailable for the first team at Loxwood.
After 6 games in 2 weeks there was some tired legs in the Reserves squad and with a strong wind blowing towards the North stand and a hard pitch this did not produce a fine spectacle.
Very few chances were created in the first half. Tom Mason found himself through in the penalty area mid way through the half but pulled his shot wide, a Jack Webber cross evaded everyone in the box and Ebou Jallow had some dangerous runs into the box but could not produce a finish.
Half time brought an enforced change as the injured Jack Webber was replaced by Ben Smith for his home debut. Smith made an immediate impact down the right wing forcing a couple of early corners. The Dockers found a bit more in the tank after a ‘pep talk’ at half time and were now dominating proceedings with the wind at their backs.
Dangerous crosses from Jallow and Harrison failed to find a Docker forward. A cross from the right then found Jallow at the far post but he narrowly headed over half way through the second half.
Sam Leppard replaced Rob Brown and gave the midfield more drive going forward. Tom Mason had another good chance when he found time and space on the edge of the area but unfortunately fired over.
Then a corner from the right found Barry Knight time his run perfectly but his header just sailed over the top corner when it looked destined to give the Dockers the lead. Simon Blaxall was bundled in the penalty area shortly after but the referee was not interested.
With time running out youth teamer Ian Robinson was introduced for the tiring Tom O’Donnell as the Dockers went all out attack and with minutes to go Joe Mctiffen sent a piledriver from 25 yards towards the top corner but somehow was tipped onto the bar and over by the gloveless keeper.
It looked like the Dockers were destined not to score but managed to survive one major scare when on a counter attack in the last minute Harry Stewart scrambled a shot off his shoulder onto the bar and it was eventually cleared to the relief of the home side. The final whistle soon followed and the match ended scoreless.
With two matches left the Dockers travel to Shoreham on Wednesday evening and host Haywards Heath on Saturday.
Harry Stewart, Joe McTiffen, Matt Harrison, Barry Knight, Luke Chatterley, Tom Mason (c), Tom O’Donnell (Ian Robinson), Rob Brown (Sam Leppard), Jack Webber (Ben Smith), Simon Blaxall, Ebou Jallow.