In the highest scoring game in the history between the two sides, AFC Uckfield Town and Peacehaven & Telscombe shared eight goals in a pulsating midweek meeting which ended 4-4 after Josh Marshall’s late free-kick, reports Will Hugall.
Seeking revenge after three defeats to Tye last season, the Uckers made a confident start on the East Sussex coast, and in the 13th minute would go ahead from a Mayckol Sabino throw on the left, as a flick-on from Tigana Quebé found captain Matt Maclean, who lashed a finish past Alieu Secka.
The hosts would wipe out that lead in the 16th minute, as Bradley Bant delivered a low cross from the left of the 18-yard box to find striker Charlie Lambert, who blasted out of Phil Hawkins’ reach from an unmarked position.
Before they could compose themselves, the Uckers defence was carved open and exposed twice more in another six minutes, as a quick counter 20th minute counter saw Josh Marshall to bury a close-range finish after Michael Lloyd cut in from the right, before Marshall got his second in the 23rd minute, arriving late onto a Lambert pass to blast into the bottom left corner.
The action continued at a frantic pace, and in the 26th minute the Uckers won a lifeline as Marcus Allen pushed into the back of Tayler Maddock from another Sabino throw, allowing Bailo Camara to tuck into the bottom left corner from the penalty spot.
Though the scoring relented, further chances followed, firstly as Marshall drew a strong save from Hawkins with a shot from the right of the box. The last chances before half time were Uckfield’s, however, as Secka was forced into impressive stops by Camara and Quebé, the latter with a dipping individual strike from the edge of the box to the goalkeeper’s right.
Reacting to the success of the hosts’ counter-attacking approach, the Uckers began by consolidating after the break and managed to prevent any serious home opportunities until after the hour mark, when Hawkins stuck out a glove to turn a curling 20-yard free kick from Marshall around his post, and Allen headed into Hawkins’ hands from the resulting corner.
Having made all three of their changes, the Uckers then went on the offensive and had the opening they craved when Quebé broke the offside trap, but drove just wide with the slightest of touches from Secka.
Showing much more determination, the Uckers fought their way upfield again and in the 76th minute would grab a deserved equaliser when, after being felled on the left of the box, Camara struck the resulting free kick past Secka, curling superbly inside the near post from the tightest of angles.
As both sides pressed for a goal that could decide the match, in the 82nd minute, Sabino’s deep throws again proved crucial, as the ball looped in from the right and broke free, allowing a rising Quebé to head into the top right corner and give the Uckers the lead.
In the celebrations, however, Ryan Welch would crucially be sin-binned, with the hosts turning the screw on the ten men of Uckfield in the closing minutes.
While the post came to their rescue when Capon struck back across goal from close range, the Uckers would eventually buckle in the 89th minute, as a Sam Cooper foul allowed Marshall another free kick opportunity, and the midfielder struck unerringly into the left of the goal, beating Hawkins’ dive and ensuring the points were shared.
Holding their position of 8th in the SCFL Premier table for now, the Uckers return to The Oaks this Saturday in the Peter Bentley Cup, kicking off at 3 p.m. as they host AFC Varndeanians for the right to host Little Common in the 3rd Round.
AFC Uckfield Town: Hawkins, Ryan Welch, Smith, Sabino (Richie Welch, 64’), Maddock (Cooper, 56’), Baitup, Okojie, Maclean (C), Quebé, Cormack (Pearson, 64’), Camara
Unused: Rodrigues-Barbosa, Loft