Ben strikes a big goal for Bosham

A late header from club captain Ben Blanshard spared Bosham’s blushes as they returned to action after three weeks off with a 1-1 draw versus Uckfield in division three of the Sussex League.

Both teams found the going tough from the off but Dan Dunford and Chris Hickman looked strong for the yellows in midfield, allowing for strikers Dan Barnard and Doug Sanders to push forward.

Blanshard marshalled the Reds’ defence excellently and, with Leon Smith and Jack Hancock, easily dealt with any attempts to find a route to goal.

Bosham settled and started to create a few opportunities for new striker Rafael Grant and stalwart Kieran Hartley. Nerves seemed to stifle any clear-cut chances on goal and Uckfield keeper Jim Robinson was relatively untroubled.

Against the run of play, Uckfield shocked the home crowd five minutes after the interval to jump into the lead after a moment of poor defending gifted Barnard the simplest of headers.

In the rain and wind, the pace of Grant was a constant threat for the Reds – but even that wasn’t enough for the home side to find a way through. Even Marco Giambelardini was kept quiet by Hickman.

The yellows could have doubled their lead late on when substitute Ben Elsey hit a super volley to round off a sweeping move, only for the effort to go narrowly wide.

Finally, Bosham got back on terms with only five minutes of the 90 left. Blanshard was in the right place at the right time to head home a free kick to bring the Reds level.

Hope sprang eternal that a winner could be found but time ran out on both teams.

Bosham host bottom side Haywards Heath this week.

BOSHAM: Hasted, Stent, Jack Hancock, Blanshard, Smith, Probee, Giambelardini, Joe Hancock, Hartley, Grant, Maunder. Subs: Dean, Docherty, Brett, Rodway.

ALAN PRICE

* At Hurstpierpoint, Matt Hibbert put Barnham in front before the hosts levelled. Ash Harper and a Richie Boxell wonder-goal gave them a 3-1 lead by the break.

Perry Northeast and Harper made it 5-1 before the hosts scored two more – only for Harper to complete his hat-trick to make the game safe – leaving Barnham one of five teams with promotion hopes.

BARNHAM: Redman, Wood, Boxell, Salisbury, Newman, Noble, Don, Hibbert, Hancock, Northeast, Harper. Subs: Walters, Peacock.