Crawley Down Gatwick 1 Littlehampton 2: Anvils lack killer finish

Football.
Southern Combination League Premier Division .
Crawley Down Gatwick v Pagham.
Pictured is Crawley Down's Kieran Boylon.
Action from the match.
Picture: Liz Pearce 02/10/2016
LP1601020 SUS-160210-110108008
Football. Southern Combination League Premier Division . Crawley Down Gatwick v Pagham. Pictured is Crawley Down's Kieran Boylon. Action from the match. Picture: Liz Pearce 02/10/2016 LP1601020 SUS-160210-110108008
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It was a bad day all-round for the Anvils after the euphoria and goals of the 5-4 victory against Wick the previous week.

Depleted Crawley Down were missing four regulars and it showed as they struggled both in attack and defence.

But after an early opener, they struggled to make any further inroads into the Marigolds defence.

Chances were being created but that lack of a killer finish in the final third was to prove their undoing.

Anvils Dan Sullivan opened proceedings with a free-kick just wide of the far post, another cross was then just missed by Kieran Greig cutting in from the right flank.

The Golds then replied with a snap-shot just wide from Liam O’Connor, with the same player then feeding Shaun Charles who in turn could only fire over.

Greig found Kerran Boylan who took advantage of slack marking to open the Anvils’ and his own account.

At this stage one wondered whether this could be the beginning of a possible goal surge, but the Marigolds thought otherwise and on 34 minutes restored parity with Alex Kew fastening onto a crossfield pass to cut in and fire past the exposed Martin Hopkins in the Anvil goal.

James Lovatt and Sullivan then had their free-kicks taken by keeper Luke Hutchings as the Anvils pushed forward.

Oli Leslie managed to get free, then setting up Greig who in turn had Hutchings turning his shot away for a corner, midfielder Michael Belli the heartbeat of the side also missed out on a shot well wide five minutes before half-time and Leslie managed to slip the defence and prod the ball goalwards only to see it just clip the far post and away.

A long ball from the Marigolds’ defence found Dean Janman in space, to guide the ball home past the despairing Hopkins, to give the visitors the interval lead.

For the second half both sides continued to probe with visitors Chris Darwin testing out Hopkins, followed by another cross also taken by the keeper.

On 50 minutes a shot by Belli forced a brilliant save from Hutchings diving to flip the ball over, as the Anvils cranked up the pressure, with next Leslie also finding the keeper.

Boylan was replaced by Lee Thomas, and Greig being replaced by Brad White, it seemed to be all-one way.

The Anvils lacked any reserve fire power up front and were therefore struggling to make any impression, as the game drifted on toward the 90 minute mark.

The visitors quite happy to launch the ball out of play to wind the clock down, as the heavily depleted side battled on to see out a disappointing defeat.

Crawley Down Gatwick: Hopkins. Sullivan, Lovett, Goodwin. Pelling, Spence (Hutchings) Greig (White) Belli, Boylan (Thomas), Leslie, Brown

Man of the Match: Michael Belli

Attendance: 40