On an unlikely third visit to the Saffrons for the 2019-20 season, AFC Uckfield Town took an impressive point in their ‘home’ league fixture against Eastbourne Town, with Callum Smith’s early strike cancelled out before a Town side reduced to ten men held on to share the spoils, reports Will Hugall.
With the game’s hosting duties reversed to avoid a potential postponement, a sense of unfamiliarity inevitably affected both sides early on, while damp conditions also made for some uncertainty.
After a slightly faster start, the Uckers took a foothold in the 13th minute, as a well-thought-out pass found Smith in behind the Town defence and the striker finished coolly past Chris Winterton for his third goal in as many matches.
In a hard-fought spell from that point, the evening’s unofficial hosts came close to adding to their league-high 75 goals on a couple of occasions, but with forwards Zac Attwood and Jack Langford frustrated by the Uckfield defence, Anthony Storey’s side managed to see out their lead at half time.
That encouraging sign was, however, swept away just three minutes into the second half, with Attwood the beneficiary of a fine move as he struck past Phil Hawkins for an 11th goal of the calendar year in just nine appearances.
With Town left-back Sam Cole dismissed just a few minutes later, the Uckers avoided an onslaught and instead regained momentum soon after, with substitutes Dee Okojie and Liam Baitup adding a new attacking dynamic after the hour mark.
Despite a gutsy performance, the Uckers found themselves denied on a number of occasions by a home rearguard who, even with a numerical disadvantage, were as assured as their record as this season’s best defence suggested, and ultimately the evening’s hosts made sure that the points would be deservedly shared.
AFC Uckfield Town: Hawkins, Norman (Okojie, 56’), Cooper, Hickman-Smith, Hull, Stewart-Hunter, Rodrigues-Barbosa (Townsend, 65’), Maclean, Smith (Baitup, 56’), Cormack, Camara
Unused: Samways, Scott
Image is stock – Mike Skinner