Defeat at The Saffrons
By Steve Roberts
Eastbourne Town 2-1 Langney Wanderers
Following a strong performance and a credible draw against Saltdean for the season opener on Saturday, a milestone fixture awaited Andy Goodchild's men on a Tuesday night at the Saffrons. This would be the first time the two local clubs had met in the league in Langney's 10 year history. The big local derby had always been Eastbourne Town Vs Eastbourne Utd however there was now a new club in Town to compete in the Eastbourne El Clasico with 6 local derbies on offer for the Wanderers this season.
Sadly a severely under strength side made the short journey across town with 7 experienced players missing, Peter Featherstone (holiday), Ryan Alexander (honeymoon), Paul Rogers (injury), Max Hollobone (injury), Dan Bateman (injury), David Smart (work) and Lee Jules (injury). So this meant 4 enforced changes from the side that played against Saltdean on Saturday (Missing = Featherstone, Alexander, Hollobone & Rogers. In = Misirlis, Crittenden, Pout & Capon). New signings Alex Plummer and Elias Berramou were called to the bench.
The first half was fairly evenly balanced with the home side probably having the better share of possession with Langney content to stay tight and look for opportunities on the counter attack. The Wanderers did find themselves picking the ball out of the back of their net twice but each time the goal was disallowed. Town were confined to long range shots and balls over the top, few of which really troubled Dan Hutchins in the Wanderers goal, The home sides best chance came towards half-time with an inviting header from Evan Archibald going just wide of the upright. HT 0-0.
Second half saw some purposeful play from Town but the visitors worked hard and defended resolutely with Town struggling to find a way though and break the lines. The goal came on 67 mins with the first phase ball at a tight angle cleared to the left with a number of Wanderers players thinking it had gone out of play. The ball back in for the second phase was the undoing for Langney with last seasons top scorer Evan Archibald slotting home. Their regret will be to have not sent the first ball out of the ground to the bowling green ! The second goal was gifted to Town on 74 mins when failure to cover for the centre half coming out with the ball left a gap when dispossessed. Some good play by Sam Carrington one on one with the remaining centre half saw him beat the keeper. It would have been easy for the Wanderers to give up having worked so hard but a change to 3-5-2 saw them move into attacking mode to push for the consolation. The break through coming in the 3rd minute of time added when a long throw to the edge of the box from the right back Matt Simpson was sent goalward with a great save from Town's young keeper but Wayne Wilkinson was there to follow up the second ball. FT 2-1.
A hardworking & spirited performance from Goodchild's men and a great effort from a depleted squad. A full strength side I think may have caused an upset on the night but I guess we will never know. Lots of positives to take from the game and again showing that Langney are worthy of competing at this level. Sunday sees the visit of Epsom & Ewell in Langney's first entry in the FA Cup at Priory Lane 15-00 KO.
MOTM - Billy Crittenden (a commanding performance at centre half)
Langney Wanderers are sponsored by Sussex Cars 726726
Photo credit Andrew Hazelden