Newhaven u18 1-2 AFC Varndeanians u18 (HT 0-1)
** Match Photos available here **
The final match of 2018 for the U18’s was a home fixture against AFC Varndeanians U18’s where a victory could, depending on other results, leave us as League leaders at Christmas.
There was a welcome return to the team for Steve Nash after a prolonged injury absence and also for Myles following his recent operation and on the bench a new signing Howard Squires. The team was a strong one with also a strong bench so hopes were high for a repeat result where we beat Varndeanians away. Indeed we did start positively and Myles had his first effort on goal within the first minute of play but the initial pressing by us evaporated and Varndeanians began to gain a foothold in the match. Steve in goal had to make a smart save to keep the scores level but it was V’s who scored first after 20 minutes when they were awarded a corner. The ball was crossed over and despite there being several chances to clear the ball to safety we failed to do so and their striker took advantage to slot the ball home. 0-1. We needed to respond but we failed to do so effectively and despite a lot of possession we did not create another effort on goal until shortly before half time. The play was concentrated in the mid-field area from both sides without either team really creating much of a goal scoring threat. 0-1 at half time.
At half time the players were told that their performance fell far below what was expected and that to get any sort of result they would have to play with far more confidence and press V’s back. Also there were several changes to personnel which it was hoped would allow us to get back into this match and get a positive result. This seemed to be the case because Drew had a shot on goal within the first minute and shortly after we scored the equaliser through Toby P D who sent in a great shot from distance past the despairing hands of the V’s keeper. 1-1 game on. At this stage we were looking likely to score again but failed to do so and again we allowed V’s to get back into the match. They had a couple of efforts on goal causing Steve to make good save to keep the scores level but we then needlessly gave a free kick away from which their striker sent in an unstoppable shot into the top corner of our goal. 1-2. Another response was needed and we thought we had equalised when Drew’s header beat their keeper but the crossbar rescued V’s. We then had a player sent off for a second yellow offence and soon after another player received a straight red thus reducing the team to 9 players. A difficult task had become a lot harder and despite the best players efforts V’s held out for the win.
This was a very poor overall performance by the team and resulted in us staying in 3rd place in the League. On a positive note the League is an open one and provided the players have learned from this defeat and, in the new year, will knuckle down and get back to basics they can improve their League position.
Squad- Steve Beasley, George Todd (c), Jake Thomsett, Jacob Nunnery, Steve Nash, Aaron Winser, Nathan Lock, Toby Potter- Drake, Marcus Nicholson, Drew Wain, Henry Carey, George Squires, Marley Ambler, Howard Squires, Myles Bickmore-Vaughan, Sam Dunstall.