Peacehaven & Telscombe FC vs. AFC Uckfield Town – 8th December 2020 – SCFL Premier Division
In their first league fixture for almost seven weeks, AFC Uckfield Town shook off some understandable rustiness to secure a creditable 1-1 draw at Peacehaven & Telscombe, with defender Dan Tear to thank for a share of the spoils, reports Will Hugall.
Responding to a 4-2 FA Vase exit to Guildford City three days prior, Uckers bosses Steve Ives and Graeme Mintrim made two changes for the trip to the Sussex coast, with Ben Kirk-Patrick and Lloyd Francis earning starts in place of Ollie Duncan and Jack Samways.
On an evening where temperatures were close to freezing, both sides were impressive in the early stages for their ability to string several tidy moves together.
The hosts had the better of this period, with the best chances coming as Jason Tibble collected an under-hit effort from Max Hollobone and Emmanuel Okorougo fired wide of the post when cutting in from the right wing.
With Kirk-Patrick being given a tough time by Okorougo and attacking right-back Harry Reed, the Uckers defence did well to hold out amidst a string of intricate Tye moves, and Mo Zabadne’s clearance as a cross sought out Festos Kamara was crucial in protecting the Uckfield goal.
Wayne Clarke’s hold-up play was a highlight of the Uckers’ efforts throughout the half, and even if few shots initially came from that source, the visitors did begin to threaten towards the end of the half.
Nathan Hover was the first to be presented with a great chance, and from a free-kick on the right was found in space six yards out, where the ball seemed to come too quickly for a clean finish as he directed wide.
Along with a couple of penalty shouts in the half which referee Greig Walker waved away, the Uckers were growing into the contest as half-time came, and could certainly claim to be even with their hosts at that stage.
The second half began with a string of open periods of play, a fact which benefited the Uckers’ George Cook and almost saw him put his side ahead.
Set clean through on the half-way line by Morgan Vale just three minutes into the half, Cook kept the Tye defenders at arm’s length for a one-on-one with Lawrence Sanded, but it was the ‘keeper who won the battle, smothering the low effort to turn it around his post.
With two fouls on Cook as he waltzed up the left wing ruled to be just outside the Tye box, the Uckers could claim control of the half’s early stages, although neither free-kick caused Sanded too much trouble.
That would be a source of immediate regret for the Uckers, as in the 58th minute, Peacehaven linked up superbly on the edge of the Uckfield box and found the ever-impressive Cam Wiltshire, who struck with his magic left boot to beat Tibble in the bottom right corner.
Sporting trademark blonde locks, the wily Tye midfielder could’ve doubled his tally just two minutes later, only for Tibble to produce a fine stop as a cross reached Wiltshire when unmarked at the far post.
With that initial spell after the goal quelled, the two sides returned to scrapping for control and shared a penalty shout apiece – with Walker again unmoved – as substitutions provided new energy into the game.
Ultimately, it would require the Uckers to throw caution to the wind to gain something from the contest late on, and this was exactly what happened.
After another chance for Cook saw the winger lift over the bar when Lloyd Francis’ cross evaded both Sanded and Dan Tear in the air, the introduction of striker Tyler Pearson added further pressure to the Tye backline.
In the 89th minute, finally, this tactic paid off. In circumstances that baffled both the Tye defence as well as most of the 150-strong crowd, defender Tear lurked upfield as Vale and Pearson tried to force shots at goal from 18 yards, and after a defensive slip the ball squirted out to Tear himself.
Steadying himself with no pressure around him, Tear took one touch and guided a cultured finish into the bottom left corner past a stranded Sanded, drawing jubilant celebrations from all of the Uckers players and fans after frustration for most of the game.
The Uckers could have had more as Pearson, Vale and Kirk-Patrick all had added-time efforts that drew panic from the home defence, but as it was, the result of 1-1 was one that neither side could complain about too much.
The Uckers return to action – providing weather conditions permit – this Saturday as they host Broadbridge Heath in another SCFL Premier Division fixture, kicking off at 3pm at The Oaks.
Your support and attendance will be hugely appreciated, so please do come down and support the Uckers as they try and continue their progress up the table!
Peacehaven & Telscombe: Sanded, Reed (Pryor, 74’), Legrange, Brocklebank (C) (Cheeseman, 65’), Morley, Gunn, Okorougo, Kamara (Ford, 82’), Scrafton, Hollobone, Wiltshire
Unused: Lloyd, Benson
AFC Uckfield Town: Tibble, Zabadne, Kirk-Patrick, Ridley (C), Hover, Tear, Cook, Francis (Pearson, 80’), Vale, Clarke (Page, 70’), Walsh
Unused: Duncan, Alexander, Cash