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First Team - Match centre

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Sat 12 Oct 15:00 - League Full time

Another Sparse return

Slump continues as Crusaders out battled by Sparten

Despite continuing injury and absence, Crusaders travelled up to Andover with a large squad and a good deal of confidence about the challenge ahead.

Defending the against the slope, Crusaders struggled to get their passing game going in the early stages. The hosts were moving the ball from back to front somewhat quicker and with the slope aiding their play, started creating one or two half chances. However, it was still something of a surprise when thy took the lead shortly before half time. With Crusader's centre backs pulled out wide, a deep cross to the back post found a Sparten player capitalising on his height advantage to power home a header.

Crusaders began the second half keen to now use the slope to their advantage. However, the hosts raised the tempo of their game further and a combination of this, the small bumpy pitch and Crusader's lack of energy and confidence saw the visitors struggle to get behind the home defence. Indeed, Sparten continued to look the more likely to score and did add two more to their tally prior to the final whistle, leaving the Crusaders management team with much to mull over.

Next week sees Crusaders begin the defence of the North Hants Cup and it is hoped that the memories of last season's cup run will inspire the team to exit their current slump before it becomes a crisis.

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Paul Findlay

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Paul Findlay

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