Men's 5s graft for a 2-0 loss Away to Eastbourne Mens 3s (sorry 4s)
By Malcolm Wain
........giving Eastbourne their toughest game this season.
FIXTURE: Sussex Div 3
HOME TEAM: Eastbourne Men's 4s. 2
AWAY TEAM: Lewes Men's 5s. 0
Early on Saturday morning Lewes Men's 5s travelled to play Eastbourne Men's 4s (previously 3s) currently sitting 10pts clear at the top with an 81+ goal difference. The game plan was simple (sort of!); half court press, don't let them score 5, make sure Rob Hill doesn't dragflick a goal and try to grab a cheeky goal on the counter.
Having never implemented a half court press before the 5s very quickly discovered that the Eastbourne game is all about winning Penalty Corners. Five PCs in the first 20 minutes saw Charlie Palmer make two a-may-zing saves, Phil Brown magically stop one strike on the line and Simon Murray's speed force the dragflicker off target twice. Unfortunately a goalmouth melee saw the Lewes goalkeeper on the ground to make one save and the umpire blindsided to the ball played by an attacking knee followed by stick that crossed the line out of Palmer's reach.
Feeling slightly hard done by, Lewes had their chance to equalise two minutes later from a PC at the other end, the ball slipped left to Simon Bullmore who almost found bottom corner with a nice slap only to see the ball put wide by the Eastbourne goalkeeper's outstretched toe. One last dragflick from Mr Hill was deflected over the goal and the resulting long corner pressurised to end the first half 1-0 to Eastbourne.
The 2nd half continued in exactly the same fashion with the Lewes skipper barking orders from the sideline and every Lewes player marking man to man. More PCs for Eastbourne, more bodies on the line from Lewes and the occasional counter attack from Ben Wood and Dax Debice that caused the Eastbourne defence problems they do not usually have to face.
With ten minutes left, a Lewes counter attack left the press short at the back and Eastbourne found a way through, packing the Lewes D where a shot found it's way through a group of players. Spotting the ball at the last moment Man of The Match goalkeeper Charlie Palmer made a reaction dive, getting his stick on the ball but on this occasion unable to keep it out of the net.
Eastbourne conceded that this was the toughest game they'd played all season, which obviously had to culminate in one final dragflick from their centre-back. On this occasion the wiley ol'Palmer had a 'feeling' it was to be placed bottom right and so he dived and saved one last time to finish the game 2-0 down. Despite the loss, the 5s all had a great game with everyone rosey cheeked and feeling they'd played a proper game.
Man of the Match - Charlie Palmer (possibly aching a touch this morning)
Next week the 5s are back at Home for another early start - 10.15 to 3rd place Crawley 3s