It was a mixed week for our local Southern Combination division-one and two sides, with Midhurst falling to an unfortunate defeat, Selsey sharing the spoils and Bosham and Sidlesham recording victories.
Here are the reports - and make sure you get the Chichester Observer, out every Thursday, for the best local football coverage around.
Midhurst 1 Saltdean 2
SCFL division one
Another week, another top-five opponent, another creditable performance – but the Stags just fall short.
Dave Berkowitz made just one change from the previous weeks win at Bexhill with Brazier replacing the unavailable Lee.
Midhurst started at a good tempo and Larence Hyde, Ben Kemplin and Morris all had chances, but several good saves from Saltdean’s No1 kept them out.
On 30 minutes, with the Stags deep in Saltdean’s half, a loose ball was intercepted and a 40-yard crossfield ball fell to Tyler Goatcher, who fired home from 18 yards.
The opposition now looked hungrier and Midhurst’s misery was doubled on 37 minutes. Again with the Stags in possession with a throw-in Deans half, another easy interception allowed Andrew McDowell to run free and round Patrick Cowell to slot home.
The second half couldn’t have started any worse for the Stags with the referee sending off Mike Martin off for an elbow.
At 2-0 down with ten men, it looked a mammoth task but the Stags rallied and dominated the half. Excellent in possession, desire and work-rate got Midhurst within a whisker of taking a point.
On 65 minutes Midhurst pulled one back. Stevens found Kemplin on the halfway line and Kemplin whose energy was astonishing all game, beat seven Saltdean players to release Morris on the right wing, and his pinpoint pass found Gary Norgate to smash home.
Saltdean were rattled, although they had chances to further their lead which Cowell stopped.
Hyde, luke Sheldrick and Norgate all had chances to level the score but were thwarted by a resilient keeper and several last-ditch clearances from Saltdean’s back four.
Berkowitz said he was frustrated at losing the game but more than happy with another good all-round team performance.
“We’ve upped the intensity in training over the past month which seems to be paying dividends on the pitch,” he said.
“For the fourth game in a row I couldn’t question my team’s effort and desire which is all I and assistant Tom Chaplin ask for.
“Saltdean are flying high and are a good team with a lot of experience in their side. We knew this would be a tough one from the outset and more than matched them. We will dust ourselves down, get back to training and prepare right for Billingshurst (who Midhurst visit on Tuesday).”
Midhurst: Cowell, Stevens, Hotson, Grantham, Hunt, Morris, Hyde, Martin, Kemplin, Brazier, Norgate. Subs: Sheldrick (Brazier 75), G Chaplin (Stevens 80), Dormer.
Selsey 2 Steyning 2
Selsey were held to a share of the spoils by Steyning at the High Street Ground.
Howard Low put the Blues ahead before Steyning levelled.
Tom Groom restored the lead before the break but Steyning nicked a point with an 87th-minute equaliser.
Steve Bailey’s side remain ninth and go to East Preston on Tuesday.
Bosham 2 Rustington 0
SCFL division two
Bosham ensured they’ll end the year top of the tree by overcoming the challenge of in-form Rustington at Walton Lane and inflicting their first defeat in six.
Andy Probee went into the fixture down to the bare bones, with club captain James Wilson absent alongside attacking trio Graeme Dowden, Jake Lafferty and leading scorer Marco Giambelardini, all out injured.
This gave an opportunity for returning assistant boss Neil Redman to partner Ricky Mullen up front in a rare start, with Ryan Coombes coming in for Dowden on the left.
Mullen was the unlikely source for the opening goal in added-on time in the first half - his first goal for the Robins in almost two years – connecting with Bradley Miles’ corner and beating his marker at the back post to head home powerfully inside the six yard box.
Bosham started the second period as they ended the first and doubled their advantage eight minutes after the re-start through Coombes. Goalkeeper Kieran Magee sent a clearance downfield which beat the Rustington defence, allowing Coombes to run on and score with a driven shot that the visiting keeper couldn’t keep out.
Matt Docherty and Ollie Gilbert marshalled the Reds backline while Miles and Louis Bell pulled the strings in midfield, despite Bell being on the receiving end of some poorly-timed challenges.
Bosham’s last league defeat came back on April 28 at Cowfold – an impressive run of 18 games and 233 days.
But they’ll have to be at their best to ensure that run continues, with the eagerly-awaited derby at rivals Sidlesham on Boxing Day (11am).
Bosham: Magee, Probee, Bulbeck, Miles, Gilbert, Docherty, Bell, Barnes, Redman, Mullen, Coombes. Sub: Warren.
E Preston U21s 1 Sidlesham 2
Intermediate Cup R4
Goals by Tom Sandals and Tom Bayley put Sids through to the next round.
Boss Daren Pearce said: “It was another good win in very trying circumstances with us going down to nine men for pretty much the whole second half.
“The lads played really well and deserve credit for getting through against the odds.
“Hopefully it will stand us in good stead for the Christmas period – we host Bosham on Boxing Day at 11am.
“No leagues are won at Christmas but we’re hoping for a good turnout for people to see our progress on and off the field over this half of the season.”
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