Crawley Down Gatwick produced a display that could only be described as an horrendous exhibition of defensive blunders.
Admittedly they were missing two defenders – but surely the defensive howlers witnessed must put a question mark on the team’s whole defensive system.
As a spectator you felt sorry for the Anvil strike force throughout. They had to forage for themselves while carnage continued the other end. The Oaks started the quicker, with Terry Payne setting up Craig Norman for an opening shot gathered by Crawley Down keeper Andy Greaves on two minutes.
Andy Dalhouse went near, but the Oaks didn’t have long to wait to open their account, when Joseph pounced on a mistake by Greaves to roll the ball home in the fourth minute to take the lead.
Anvils were looking a bit hesitant as the Oaks continued to set the pace, andon 12 minutes Ben Brooker had his effort cleared out only as far as Dan Sullivan – but the full-back could only fire over.
The Anvils finally tasted success when Ben Brooker, out on the right flank, fired in a cross/shot that passed a bemused home keeper Matt Dan and went into the net.
Suitably roused after being on the back foot for a while, the Oaks took the lead again through another Anvil defensive blunder that gave Dalhouse the freedom of Uckfield to waltz through a static defence to add further woes for the Anvils 2-1.
If that defending was calamitous then worse was to follow when, on 42 minutes, Joseph yet again skipped through another threadbare defence to put the Oaks even more firmly in the driving seat at 3-1.
Two goals followed in three minutes as Joseph completed his hat-trick for Uckfield to take a 4-1 lead on 57 minutes before Kerran Boylan narrowly the gap for Down at 4-2.
James Day should have scored when heading over a Sullivan corner and at the end it was mainly all Anvil pressure but that vital finishing touch continued to elude them.
It continued along the same lines with Uckfield now having to hang on, but not before Dalhouse again went near, as finally the final whislte blew not before time for the somewhat-chastened Anvils.
Crawley Down Gatwick: Greaves, Sullivan, Barton, Hutchins, Goodwin, Day, Spence, Brown, Boylan (Cane), Brooker (Leslie) 11. Greig (Lowe)
Unused Sub: Pitt
Man of the Match: Mike Spence
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