Battle Baptists 3-0 Crowhurst
Battle Baptists finally overcame a resolute Crowhurst side on Saturday, eventually winning out with goals from Trystan Mayhew, Harry Loates and Dean Boyd, to continue their excellent league form and maintain hopes of winning their first Macron East Sussex Football League Premier Division title.
After a nervy first half that produced no goals, Battle eventually broke the deadlock when centre half Scott Vickers, playing in his first full game of the season, flighted a free kick into the danger area where Trystan Mayhew stretched to sweep his shot sweetly into the bottom left hand corner.
Prior to this moment two thirds of the way through the game, the home team had huffed and puffed to open up a Crowhurst defence that were determined to defend a clean sheet.
On the Baptists left flank, Joe Brister made good forages, turning and twisting to penetrate the defensive lines and providing dangerous crosses. Ollie Norris enjoyed similar success on the right and came closest to scoring when he cut in and squeezed a left footed shot narrowly wide on the half hour mark. Earlier, after good work from Josh Pickering, Norris had to watch agonisingly as he attempted to guide the ball in from close range only to see his effort miss the target.
Just before the break, Crowhurst were gifted a golden chance to score. The usually 100% dependable Jake Rudwick comfortably collected the ball and looked to throw it out to his left back. A sudden change of mind resulted in the ball being bounced into the ground to land fortuitously at the feet of the Crowhurst striker, who saved the blushes of the Battle custodian by shooting high and over the crossbar – a let-off for Battle.
The home team will be concerned about Brister’s hip injury which caused the promising youngster to retire just before half time, adding to the list of sidelined players as Battle look to finish the season with three games in five days next week.
When the first goal finally went in, the sigh of relief around Battle Recreational Ground was noticeable and the home team continued to push for more. Skipper, and Medica Man-of-the-Match Ollie Jeffs delivered a beautiful cross onto the head of Trystan Mayhew and the goal-bound header was wonderfully saved before Loates pounced on the loose ball and fired his shot into the net, deflecting wildly through a Crowhurst defender before crossing the line.
As Jeffs, Vickers, Tom Saunders and Mark Dowling managed the occasional Crowhurst counters, the Mayhew brothers, Kieran and Trystan, worked tirelessly to win possession and return it forward to keep up pressure on their opponent’s goal, until a recurrence of his ham string problem forced Trystan to be replaced by James Williams, making his seasonal debut for the front side.
Crowhurst’s goalkeeper made several great stops during the game but he’ll be disappointed to have conceded Battle’s third goal as Dean Boyd’s shot somehow ended in the net to confirm the result, whilst substitute Williams almost notched a debut goal, skying his opportunity from close range shortly before the final whistle.
The win keeps up pressure on Hollington who are still favourites to lift the League trophy following an equivalent 3-0 win at St Leonards Social. The two teams each suffer a heavy schedule over the Bank Holiday weekend before facing each other in what could be the title decider at Wishing Tree Lane on Wed 9th May 6:30pm KO