This season’s opener saw us travel to a fellow playoff participant from last season, Shoreham FC. We traveled with some optimism after a good pre-season; however, it was not the start that we were looking for.
The pitch was, as many pitches will be at this time of the season after the drought we have all been suffering, not conducive to free-flowing football.
We started with the same formation we had been using during pre-season and as predicted it was challenging for either team to get a foothold in the game.
We started on the front foot and should have been two-nil up early on after two opportunities falling to Athan Smith-Joseph who was unable to trouble the Shoreham goalkeeper. Firstly, after a great run from Smith-Joseph, he couldn’t hit the target. This was followed up when the ball dropped at his feet from a corner but again couldn’t direct the ball on target.
In the 9th minute, we fell behind after a mix-up in the defence, and Shoreham’s number 11 (Heath) was able to pass the ball into the net from 18-yards. As the half was coming to a close we fell further behind after another mix-up between our goalkeeper and center-back. This was never a good time to concede and on the balance of play was harsh.
The second half was predominately played in the Shoreham half with the home side’s game plan to defend at all costs. However, midway through the second half, we did score what was felt to be a legitimate goal but was ruled out for offside. It was tight, but this time the goal was ruled out.
We had a late sight at goal as Richard Pingling caught the ball sweetly 20 yards out, only for the ball to crash off the crossbar and behind.
As the game wore on Shoreham were reduced to relying on numerous breakouts from defence and in the 91st minute, it proved successful as Ross Myers passed the ball into the empty net after a quick counterattack.
Of course, it is very disappointing to lose on the first game of the season and yes, there is a lot to do on the training pitch before our next match, which will be an equally challenging away trip to Seaford Town. However, you cannot win the ‘league on the first day of the season’. We need to regroup and learn from this defeat and move forward.