Following the postponement of consecutive home matches due to adverse weather, AFC Uckfield Town aim to catch up on their league schedule this weekend against East Preston FC, heading to the West Sussex coast with ideals on an eighth consecutive win, writes Will Hugall.
Again, recent rain will cast doubts over play this weekend, but if the hosts’ Lashmar pitch makes it through a Saturday morning pitch inspection, then the fixture certainly promises goals, amongst other reasons for intrigue.
With East Preston sat 17th in the SCFL Premier Division at the time of writing, and the Uckers 14th, objectively the match could be seen as a bottom-half scrap for points in damp conditions, and despite being an entertaining prospect to have little riding on it.
Three points for either side in this game, however, could prompt a run that is decisive to their SCFL season, as the Uckers seek to return to action following what has almost become a six-week absence, while EP are on the brink of a crucial spell of results themselves.
After the departure of Bob Paine as manager in the summer, the Littlehampton-based side have rebuilt under the guidance of former Rustington assistant Jon Tucker, and despite some mixed results now appear to be turning a corner.
They reached the Semi-Finals of the Peter Bentley Cup this week with a 2-0 win over Steyning Town, and recently also secured an important 5-2 home win against Crawley Down Gatwick to pull away from the bottom of the table.
That said, they have still conceded the highest number of goals – 54 –of any SCFL Premier side across all competitions so far, and at home have generally been shy in front of goal, with just 12 goals from nine matches.
With only eight league wins in the last two seasons against sides that finished in the top half, their search for another statement victory may be expected to go on longer than this weekend too.
By contrast, the Uckers’ current winning streak has seen them put together more victories than EP’s full season total – seven to six. On all three occasions they have conceded at least three goals this season as well, the Uckers have not lost a single game, while EP have one draw from ten such occurrences.
Away from home, Anthony Storey’s team are ten matches unbeaten, and with five straight wins on the road look fearsome opposition – especially considering those who they faced in such a run, including the SCFL’s top two, and the in-form duo of Walthamstow and Eastbourne United.
Although they won’t be counting any chickens yet, if the Uckers were to win all three of their league games in hand – whenever they will be played – they could also re-enter the top five for the first time since the opening weekend.
On their current form, that is an outcome they would certainly hope to realise, but with more success in cup competitions so far, a readjustment may be expected, both in style and expectations.
For now, the prize of a lofty league position depends on keeping pace with those above them. If they can get play this weekend, Storey’s side will be keen to make the most of the opportunity to do just that.
Pending the approval of an aforementioned pitch inspection, the SCFL Premier Division fixture between East Preston FC and AFC Uckfield Town will hope to kick off at 3 p.m. at The Lashmar this Saturday.
Directions to the ground are available from this link, http://www.scfl.org.uk/grounddetail.php?gnd_id=14, while admission is £7 for adults, £4 for concessions, and free for under-16s.
Throughout the match, updates can be found on the @AfcUckfieldTown Twitter page, while for all the sports news this weekend you can tune into the Saturday Sports programme, here on Uckfield FM with David Eggleston, from 2-6 p.m. A full report from the match will also be available here on Sunday, so keep your eyes peeled for all your Uckers news.
Come on you Uckers!