Roffey 2 Sidlesham 1
First team lose opening fixture. A more than fair report taken from Roffey FC website
Roffey went into Saturday's SCFL Division 2 opening fixture with some people's tip for the Title Sidlesham missing a recognised Goalkeeper as well as some regulars from last season. However, were confident that the depth in squad they have acquired over the summer would be able to give a good account of itself. With one part of the new management team away getting married, Kev Dunster and Graham Powell took charge for the first game of the new season.
Roffey began the game with a little apprehension and Sidlesham were to gain full benefit from this as early as the 3rd minute when a long ball forward and some miss-communication between Adam Wicking at Right Back and Stand in Goalkeeper Dean Robinson meant wicking headed the ball into an empty net as Robinson had come to claim. 1-0 Sidlesham.
This seemed to settle Roffey and they began to grow into the game and find some rhythm in their play. So much so that Sidlesham began to re-shape their team and move players around to accommodate for what Roffey were doing. Ben Simester at left back and Wicking were able to get further and further forward as the half grew older. Duncan Hirschfield and Phil Awcock began to get to grips with the very good Tom Bayley. Ben Chowney was denied from inside the 6 yard box by Connor Kelly in the Sidlesham Goal. Debutant Jamie Wanstall had a shot blocked and put one over the bar, Hirschfield missed a great chance from an Awcock free kick and Pat O'Sullivan was denied first by Kelly and then after a great ball in from Chowney the top of the cross bar.
Any Sidlesham counter attacks were being thwarted by Hirschfield and Awcock as well as the hard working Dan Dunster in front of the back four. Dunster beginning to clear up any knock downs from Sidlesham long ball attempts and get the play moving towards the creative Wanstall, Luke McGregor and Gavin Fowler. McGregor slipping a great through ball into Fowler who looked to be through on goal but for excellent last ditch defending from Sidlesham's Matt Roberts.
Roffey could of been forgiven for getting a little frustrated at the amount of chances that had gone begging, but they kept patient looking for a break through. That break through finally came in the 44th minute after and well worked short corner allowed Fowler to cross the ball into Wicking. After a great first touch Wicking fired the ball into the top right hand corner! Atoning for his own goal maybe? Half time and it was 1-1.
The second half began with further chances for Wanstall, O'Sullivan, McGregor and Chowney but all were either blocked, saved by Kelly or put over the bar. You felt at this point that it may not be Roffey's day.
Sidlesham looked to counter attack and get a foothold in the game as the half went on. The very good John Phillips looked to support Bayley as well attacks down both wings from Joe Jefkins and Callum Dowdell. However Robinson in the Roffey goal (usually an accomplished outfield player and only stepping in due to 1st choice keeper absence) went largely untested. Robinson kept control of his back four all game and came out on several occasions to claim crosses. Simester and Wicking defended well down both flanks, Hirschfield was as outstanding as well as Awcock and Dunster and McGregor worked tirelessly in the middle of midfield to prevent Sidlesham getting an all important second goal.
On 75 minutes Harri Nourse who having broke his wrist only two weeks ago came on wearing a Jamie Vardy type cover for the excellent O'Sullivan. Roffey were looking to turn one point into three, which is no more than they deserved based on chances created alone.
Ben Gardiner replaced McGregor in the middle to ensure there some real energy in the midfield in the closing stages and Scott Le Petit had to replace the outstanding Wicking as he didn't recover from a very poor tackle missed by the referee.
Fowler and Wanstall were outstanding all afternoon, continuing to look for a final opportunity. This opportunity came in the 88th minute when Fowler found Wanstall who skipped round a tired challenge from Joss Parsons down Roffey's right, Wanstall then curled a delightful ball to the far post towards the awaiting Harri Nourse. Nourse powered a header back across the on rushing Kelly into the far corner sparking wild celebrations. 2-1 Roffey.
Roffey were able to see the game out quite comfotably in the end and pick up a great 3 points on the opening day. Sidlesham are a very good side and are most definitely among the front runners for the league title. Kev Dunster and Graham Powell were very pleased with what they saw and the whole squad (all not available) now look forward to an away trip to Cowfold on Tuesday night and a 6:15 kick off.
Roffey: Robinson, Wicking, Hirschfield, Awcock, Simester (c), Dunster, McGregor, Wanstall, Fowler, Chowney, O'Sullivan. Subs: Nourse, Gardiner, Le Petit.
Sidlesham: Kelly, Williams, Sandalls, Robinson(c), Leggat, Roberts, Jefkins, Parsons, Bayley, Phillips, Dowdell. Subs: Jefkins, Williams, Watts, McCoy, Bassil.