In the first-ever meeting between the sides, AFC Uckfield Town face 2018-19 SCFL Division One champions Alfold FC tonight at the Surrey side’s Recreation Ground, a site which has hosted matches at four tiers during ‘Fold’s significant rise in the last five years, writes Will Hugall.
One of four SCFL Premier Division fixtures scheduled this evening, the match pits the 9th-placed Uckers against a ‘Fold side who have fallen from the top half to 14th in the last few weeks, with both teams having suffered from postponements and poor weather recently.
Having not entered the FA Cup this season, and also due to early exits in the FA Vase, Peter Bentley Cup and Surrey Senior Cup, Alfold have had the SCFL Premier Division’s sparsest schedule this season – playing only 20 matches in all competitions.
Even in spite of a shortage of home action recently, the Uckers, by comparison, have completed 29 games to date and will stretch a run on the road to 13 matches tonight.
Providing a tactical conundrum for manager Anthony Storey to ponder, the only blips in that run – other than consecutive cup exits at Binfield and Eastbourne Borough – have been when the Uckers have been well-placed to win; drawing at out-of-form East Preston and Loxwood, and defeated 3-1 at ten-man Eastbourne United last weekend.
While opponents have picked up points when their counter-attacking approach is misfiring, then, the Uckers have otherwise been clinical, but will also have to return to their best to claim points on the West Sussex-Surrey border, given ‘Fold’s impressive home record.
A 2-1 defeat to Broadbridge Heath last weekend was Matt and Jack Munday’s side’s first inside 90 minutes at home this season, and although the match was only their eighth at the Recreation Ground, it followed impressive results against the likes of Horsham YMCA, Crawley Down Gatwick and Steyning Town.
With 11 of his 13 goals coming in the league to date, ‘Fold striker Kelvin Lucas actually leads any Uckers player in the Premier Division this season as Liam Baitup and Bailo Camara sit on 8 and 6 goals respectively, and if either side is to claim all three points, it seems likely that a member of that trio will be crucial.
Considering potential results elsewhere, the Uckers could rise to 7th, or – depending on a four-goal swing in the home side’s favour – fall to 11th, and ‘Fold could promote themselves to 9th or drop to 15th depending on the match’s result, so motivation to kick on and return to a positive league run will be high for both clubs.
Particularly since the Uckers will have the chance – conditions permitting – to return home for the first time since late October this weekend against Langney Wanderers, and Alfold will start a four-match home run after visiting Pagham on Saturday, momentum will be more important than ever to both, starting tonight.
The SCFL Premier Division fixture between Alfold FC and AFC Uckfield Town kicks off at 7:45 p.m. tonight at The Recreation Ground (Alfold, GU6 8JB), with directions to the ground available here; http://www.scfl.org.uk/grounddetail.php?gnd_id=4.
Admission is £5 for Adults, £3 for Concessions and Under-16s go free.
Regular updates will be available throughout the game from the @AfcUckfieldTown and @alfold_fc Twitter pages, while a full report will appear here on Uckfield FM in the hours after the game.
Come on you Uckers!
Stock image (c) Mike Skinner