Coniditions: 17 degrees. Mild.
A lovely pitch and good facilities greeted Portslade on a rare weekday game under the floodlights. Only notable absence was John Boddy who is out injured. Back came Tom Ryan into centre-back for his first game of the season and a late arriving Jamel Hanson took a place on the bench. Captain Sean Trend moved back into a more familiar midfield role.
The game started off extremely fast and competitive with both teams holding their own. There was not a great deal of excitement or goal mouth action as both teams not creating any clear cut opportunities. Both teams came in at half time having cancelled each other out. 0-0.
The game exploded 2 minutes after half time. Jacob rocketed down the left hand-side in a trademark run and whipped in a lovely ball - just before he was taken out - and Karl Boffey stroked it into the net without blinking. The 6 yard box Predator was at it again! 1-0 after 47 minutes played in the clock.
The goal gave Slade confidence and the midfield started to control the game. Neil Shelley, Sean Trend and Marc Sutton began dominating the central midfield which allowed Nathan Cook and Jacob Everett more ball in the attacking third.
Slade doubled their lead in the 60th minute. A direct ball was headed away by the Hassocks defence only for it fall invitingly 24 yards out to Nathan Cook. He confidently took it first time on the volley and connected beautifully to claim the first "thunder-bastard" goal of the season ! Well done Psycho! 2-0
With Slade looking dominant there was always a chance a well-drilled and strong team like Hassocks were going to create a few chances and thats exactly was happened. With several players caught out of position Hassocks had a 4-on-3 situation and they made no mistake to pull a goal back. after 65 minutes. 1-2
Hassocks now had their tails up but that didn't stop Portslade extending their lead back to a 2 goal margin. A magical move ended with Sean Trend slipping the ball to Nathan Cook who made no mistake from 15 yards out as the ball ended up in the bottom corner! 75 minutes played and 3-1 !
Only 2 minutes later and Hassocks clawed their way back into the game. The big striker held off our defence before drilling low in off the post. 3-2 !
Slade immediately went up the other end Karl Boffey was set free in the area. He dallied on the ball and the keeper managed to get in a block. This didn't deter Boff who threw himself at the ball and managed to poke it into Sean Trend's. path. Petal ran onto the ball and drove low into the net for running over to the bench in delight ! Three goals in 3 minutes! 4-2 and surely game-over1!
In the 80th minute a clash of heads stopped the game . The Hassocks player retired with blood pouring from his head while Jacob Everett was strapped up like a young Terry Butcher. The break in play seemed to disrupt our focus and only 30 seconds after the restart Hassocks pulled another goal back after their central midfielder had time to pick out a lofted pass to the big striker again. He outmuscled the defence and scored in off the post again! 4-3.
One minute later and it was all square. Slade were outnumbered at the back again and cross from their left hand side was flicked in expertly. 4-4 ! Slade were now on the rocks and needed to steady the ship.
With Hassocks pushing hard, Portslade managed to breakaway and sub Veenaye Munsarum outpaced their back line and found himself 1-on-1 with the keeper. He drove low but the keeper managed to get down and save well.
With only 27 seconds left the game was to be won. Unfortunately it was Hassocks who stole the points. A Hassocks player drove in from the left and scuffed a shotl which evaded Rich Smith and bobbled into the net. Heartbreak for Portslade. Joy for Hassocks. 4-5.
In summary; the game was in the bag and we somehow seemed to switch off and lose our focus during a break in play. We conceded straight after that and then their tails were up, and ours down. It’s pretty hard to get out a mini-slump but you can only do this by staying compact and disciplined - so we should have just kept our formation and closed the game out.
Their striker that came on at half time made a big difference for Hassocks as he muscled our defence around and managed to grab a hat-tirck.
However, with 80 minutes gone I could only see us continue to score more goals on the counter. I suspect we all felt this way and went for the jugular whereas seeing the game out would have been more professional thing to do.
We can and will put this all right on Saturday.
A lot of great performance all over the pitch for the majority of the game but Man of the Match was Sammy Dudek for the second week on the trot. Honourable mentions to Neil Shelley, Jacob Everett and Karl Boffey who were closely considered!
Team: 1. Smith 2. Ryan 3. Dudek 4. Collins 5. Goff 6. Trend © 7. Cook 8. Shelley 9. Boffey 10. Sutton 11. Everett SUBS: 12. Munsarum 14. Beckwith 15. Hanson 16. Reyland