This pulsating FA Cup replay had drama, skill, endeavour, heroics, commitment, a controversial sending off and heartache as Peacehaven were finally and narrowly squeezed out when they lost the penalty shootout.
They had to complete extra time and the last ten minutes of normal time with ten men after Curt Ford was given a straight red card for an offence the player had no idea of what the offence was or what he was supposed to have committed.
The man you have to feel sorry for is Haven striker Charlie Lambert. On Sunday Lambert tormented the Erith defence until he was injured just before half time and had to come off. In Tuesday night’s game he started on the bench and came on in the 62nd minute in place of Sunday’s scorer Mikey Lloyd.
Lambert covered every blade of grass, and if there is ever a player who has quickly bought into the Peacehaven work and commitment ethic, it is Charlie Lambert.
And when the time came for volunteers to take spot kicks, it was Lambert who put himself on the line to take the first kick. His kick was well saved and Lambert was distraught. He will get over the disappointment in the knowledge that not one Haven fan will blame him, these things just happen.
Without exception every Peacehaven player performed over and above against a well organised and dangerous team. At the back we are now seeing the best of David Amarteifio. He was outstanding in both games and seems to relish playing as one of the middle three in the back five. Unfortunately for him, he had to go off in the 69th minute as it looked like he had pulled a hamstring.
Up front Josh Marshall was brilliant. He took his tenth minute goal with style and confidence when he was put in behind the Erith defence and slid the ball under the oncoming Dan Teeley in the visitors’ goal to give Haven the lead.
The game swung from end to end and when called upon as he often was, Secka kept Peacehaven in the game with a string of superb saves and confident takes. This season the young stopper looks even more confident and his distribution and decision making have also improved since last term.
With Peacehaven’s early lead looking more tenuous by the minute, it came as no surprise when Erith equalised with a well worked goal through Arthur Feudjiro.
In the 80th minute life became even more difficult for Peacehaven when Curt Ford was shown a straight red card for an offence that truly mystified the Haven striker.
Peacehaven then had to play what would be the next 40 minutes with just ten men. Every Haven player stepped up and the casual observer would have struggled to realise that Peacehaven were down to ten men.
Extra time saw Haven put under immense pressure as they defended as if their lives depended on it, but when Peacehaven broke they looked dangerous with Lambert going close.
In the 108th minute after a terrific goal mouth scramble Erith thought they had won it when they hit the bar. Several of their players dropped to their knees in desperation and frustration, but Peacehaven saw this as an opportunity to launch a quick counter attack.
And then it was the dreaded penalties. A cruel, but efficient way to end a heart-stopping game of football.
A special mention should be made to the youngsters who turned up to support Peacehaven. The official attendance was 210 of which 100 were under 18. A magnificent turnout from the young people of the two towns. With support like that, the club’s future looks in safe hands.
Final score: Peacehaven & Telscombe 1, Erith & Belvedere 1 (AET). Erith & Belvedere go through 5-3 on penalties.
Peacehaven & Telscombe: Secka, Kilula, Bant, Grant, Cheeseman, Amarteifio, Le Grange, Brocklebank, Ford, Lloyd, Marshall (J). Subs: Lambert, Lannon, Olulade, Leach, Marshall (S), Kinkene, Sanded.
Peacehaven are next in action on Saturday when they are at home to the league’s early leaders Lingfield. Kick-off 3pm.
Updated 10:23 - 14 Aug 2019 by Pitchside View