A bright and clear day in the scenic surroundings of Polegate greeted the Portslade players as they arrived kitted out in the stylish official teamwear. Talk of how Bison became a Doctor and in what field was greeted with "I got a PHD in pain". The Polegate midfield would find this out later!
Polegates position in the league doesn't really do them justice as they've played a lot less games than the majority of the other teams. Slade expected a real tough test and that is what we got. From the start Polegate were dominating in the air and first to everything. Only Jacob Everett seemed to be standing out in Slade colours.
Early half chances were all going Polegates way although we did offer a glimmer of hope on the rare counter attack. In the 18th minute - against the run of play - Slade took the lead. A goal Sam Allardcye would have been beaming with. Rich Smith launched a kick from his hands up into the Gods, the Polegate centre halves completely missed and Jacob Everett burst onto the ball. He advanced onto goal leaving the defence in his wake and shot left-footed which the keeper could only parry into the net. 1-0 to the Slade!
This didn't seem to faze Polegate and they came back at Portslade with the same ferocity. With set pieces causing real damage it was no surprise when they equalised via a corner in the 25th minute. Their danger-man left winger scored a lovely overhead kick which left Richard O'Brien in the Slade goal crying for Mumsie. Great finish 1-1.
Only 10 minutes later and Polegate deservedly went in front . Another corner was our undoing as a ball whipped into the 6 yard box was not dealt with and a Polegate player flicked the ball into the next. 1-2.
With Polegate in control a bizarre incident occurred when their impressive Skipper lost his cool with his own left winger over lack of effort. Arguments broke out and one fan shouted "You're not fit to wear the armband". "Great Dad you are" the Skipper retorted.
This didn't affect the Polegate players as in the 44th minute they took a two goal advantage when another cross was not dealt with and their centre midfielder had the easy task of knocking it into the net. 1-3 and nothing more than they deserved.
With the half coming to a close and the Ginger Mourinho trying to keep his cool on the ad-hoc benches, Slade managed to get a vital second goal. The lively Jacob Everett drove in from the right hand side with a mazy run and slipped the ball into last weeks hero Karl Boffey. The Boff only 9 yards out lashed a shot that was blocked by the keeper but still managed to loop up and cross the line. 2-3 ! A lifeline for Slade and Karl's 9th league goal in 10 games. We were somehow still in the match after being largely outplayed. Half-time.
The second half started without the Polegate winger and Slade were immediately on top. With Polegate a shadow of the first half we had most of the attacking play but couldn't seem to capitalise. The Little Ginger Coconut decided to make the first change with second his Son Nathan Cook getting the nod in place of goal machine Karl Boffey.
With 68 minutes on the clock Bison decided to pull down the metaphorical shades like an American rapper in a nightclub and transform himself once again into HOLLYWOOD BISON . He picked the ball up in the centre circle and somehow out the corner of his eye he saw a great run from Nathan Cook. With a player chasing him down and the angle closing he decided to play a sublime 45 yard outside-of-the-foot through ball (which got "great ball" from the Polegate crowd) perfectly into the path of Psycho. Nathan Cook took a couple of touches and shot low past the impressive Polegate keeper. 3-3. What a game!
Only one minute later and Slade were in the lead. Another lovely run by Jacob Everett ended with a lovely slipped ball through the defence. Nathan Cook cut in diagonally and another low shot nestled in the net. Super sub performance from Psycho. Adam Le Fondre mark II.
Slade were cutting the Polegate defence to pieces now with some incisive through balls. Notable chances went begging for Nathan Cook again and Veenaye Munsarum as we looked to put the game to bed. Sean Trend was also desperately unlucky when he whipped a vicious, curling, dipping shot off the underside of the bar. However Veenaye finally got the fifth in the 78th minute when a powerful run by Sean Trend on goal brought a parry from the Polegate 'keeper and with the ball loose the Mauritius Magician slid in for this 6th goal of the season from only his 7th appearance. 5-3. What a turnaround !
With Slade pressing for more goals and players pouring forward against a demoralised Polegate team it looked like we would only add to the tally. However, in the 5th minute of injury time Slade let a soft one in as Polegates number blasted a ball which Rich Smith couldn't stop and it spun agonisingly into the net. 5-4. Somehow the referee played another 3 minutes of injury time on top of that but we held out for another dramatic win.
In summary; a much improved second half performance after an extremely slack first period. We were lucky to get in at half time only one goal down and had it not been for that goal just before the break it could have been a different story. Special mention to Jacob Everett who covered every blade of grass and was well worth the Man of the Match award. We will need to ensure the first half performance isnt repeated again if we are to maintain our league position but full credit to the players for getting there in the end.
Team: 1 Smith 2. Collins 3. Hanson 4. Balcombe 5. Scott 6. Trend 7. Boddy 8. Shelley 9. Boffey 10. Sutton 11. Everett Subs: 12. Cook 14 Munsarum 15 Norris