The Sussex Men’s Football first team allowed slack defending from set pieces twice to ruin an otherwise encouraging performance in their latest BUCS league game at the Falmer Sports Centre. They went down 2-0 last Wednesday.
Sussex started the game more convincingly than their derby rivals, showing good energy and strength in their tackling. The first ten minutes saw Sussex put together a goal-scoring opportunity, after a quick throw by left-midfielder Dan Wood resulted in right-back Jason Hartley squaring the ball to captain Mark Rule, who swivelled and saw his shot hit the bottom of the right-hand post.
However, two minutes later, the home team would find themselves a goal down. An inswinging corner from the Brighton left was headed on by Charlie Adset as he got to the ball in front of Sussex keeper, Sam Jeffrey to nod the ball into the far corner.
Sussex started getting a foothold as the half wore on. Jeffrey parried a good long-range effort and collected crosses decisively. Hartley remained threatening down the right and Dan Wood continued to harass the goalscorer Adset, who looked hesitant in possession when defending at right-back.
Sussex’s best chance of the half fell to striker Bill Ward, who fired the ball low and wide from the right-hand-side of the penalty area, after good play from Wood down the left and central midfielder Dimal Luta. Indeed, Ward had another opportunity on the stroke of half-time when he ran onto a flick-on from Rule. Brighton were perhaps fortunate to go in 1-0 up at half -time.
Sussex started the second half with a much more measured and controlled approach. It proved effective as central midfielders Luta and George Gledhill began to pick their passes and assert control over their Brighton counterparts. It was during this period that Sussex put together the best move of the game, as Gledhill exchanged one-touch passes with several players on his way into the penalty. A last-ditch tackle from a Brighton defender conceded a corner and prevented a shot.
As Brighton attempted to ride the storm at the start of the second half, they increasingly looked to their right winger and most threatening outlet. Showing good pace, ball control and decision making, he gave left-back James Dowsett a real challenge. The Sussex full back, however, stuck to his task and coped admirably – most notably a last ditch tackle in the 66th minute, with the Brighton attacker bearing down on goal.
In the 68th minute, left midfielder Tom Wood was replaced by Mow Magsu after picking up a knock.
Sussex continued to press but they failed to create any genuine chances. With the game becoming stretched and some of the players beginning to tire, Brighton looked dangerous when they broke quickly and with width. They created and squandered two great chances before scoring a second. It was headed home by substitute Conrad Deckers after a beautifully placed cross from the left-hand-side in the 89th minute.
Stand-in Sussex coach Ian Brockin was encouraged by the performance and said that it was a “close game” but lamented some of his side’s defending,
“We conceded from two set pieces and that’s definitely something for us to work on”.