30th September County Cup – West Hove FC V Barnham Trojans

A perfect Sunday for football, dry, mild and calm and played back on good old fashioned grass, completely different conditions to last week ! The team were instructed to try and release the ball from midfield to the forwards a little quicker than last week and to look for width on both the left and right hand sides.

West Hove FC started with their usual 3-5-2 with Fil coming back into his usual CDM role after missing last weeks match and we started the far brighter of the two teams. Some good possession and passing in the very early stages found Frank Saunders in space on two occasions however his shots on goal were well saved by Barnhams keeper. Evan Speck then managed to get away from his defender and found himself on a one v one with the keeper who saved again, we could all tell by his handling, footwork and distribution that this keeper was quality.
After more good passing our captain Max Noble was found in space in his central midfield position and from 25 yards out hit an unstoppable shot that went over the diving keeper and just under the crossbar, nothing he could do about this 1-0 6 min, totally deserved.

Barnham then came right back into the game with West Hove had an awful 10 minute spell that saw them go 1-3 behind. A couple of mix ups at the back led to good goals finding the corner of the net and another goal from a corner came 1-3 22 min – this can be a cruel game!

West Hove regrouped again and won a corner that was taken by Baran Gonul, it was partially cleared by the Barnham defence and fell to Harry, he found Baran in space again, who crossed first time and there was Frank Saunders unmarked at the far post to score his first of the season 2-3 26 min. Again the momentum was back with West Hove and just before half time a quick break from defence found Frank whose first time ball found Evan Speck. Evan looked to be running into a dead end with no obvious support but managed to take it past 3 players and dinked it over the diving keeper, a great goal to cap off an exhausting first half 3-3 35 min.

The second half required a couple of substitutions as our captain Max Noble went off with possible a reoccurring knee injury. Harry was also rested and on came both Fergus Warnock and Billy Gallagher, Billy dropping to CDM and Fil pushing slightly forward into Max’s more central role. Unfortunately 6 minutes in and a long ball from Barnham caught out our defence, a one on one resulted and they simply lobbed Aiden in goal, nothing that he could have done 3-4 41 min.

Further pressure for the remainder of the half came from West Hove and chances falling to Baran and Frank with further great saves from their goalie, when he was beaten by Evan a defender cleared off the line. With 6-7 minutes remaining we changed formation and went 3-4-3 with Haydn Priddey coming off the bench, pushed up front and told to shoot on sight……..finally in the last 20 seconds of normal time and with the ball on the edge of Barnhams area Haydn managed to get his head to the ball and when it dropped his power shot was far too strong for the Barnham keeper to keep hold of, 4-4 70 mins and ET.

Extra time of 10 minutes each half would hopefully see West Hove’s recent increase in fitness reap rewards however we received a blow when Will Watts had to be replaced due to an on going Achilles injury, Frank now covered at right back. A minute before half time West Hove won the ball back deep, passed the ball across the pitch and found Chris Robertson in space on the right, his pace beat his defender and his cross towards the far post found Harry who volleyed in from close range to make it 5-4 79 min.

Another pep talk at half time and instructions on managing the game for the last 10 minutes resulted in a fairly comfortable second half and even though the Barnham players frustrations were taken out on our players West Hove all stood firm as a team for a very memorable win… !!

MOM – Evan Speck – difficult to award a MOM when the team shows such determination, drive and desire however after a great performance in our friendly on Tuesday Evan today showed some more great moments of skill in his attacking midfielder role.

Eastbourne Borough FC U14’s vs West Hove FC U14’s

2nd League match of the season at Eastbourne Sports Park 3G for the fixture of Eastbourne Borough FC v West Hove FC
The match was played on a lovely 3G surface that was very greasy and quick due the the amount of rain that had been persistently falling, the match made a little trickier with the high winds.

With the absence of Fil Lavacchini our CDM in came Haydn Priddey for his first start since February (slowly returning from long term injury), West Hove started in their familiar 3-5-2. The instruction was to try and use the whole width of the pitch and get the wingers into positions between Eastbourne’s midfield and defence where we did so well attacking and supplying the forwards last week.

Eastbourne started the match far better than us and from early in the match we looked unusually out of sorts, unable to keep hold of possession and giving the ball away. The battle between the two teams continued in midfield and it was in the 16th minute that finally some great passing found Evan on the edge of the penalty area, he spotted Harry P alone on the right hand side who controlled the ball and drilled it into the left hand corner of the goal 0-1 16 min. Soon after we were dealt a selection blow when our right back Will was withdrawn due to an injury picked up during the week.

West Hove were now having a far better spell and two minute later again Harry was found unmarked on the right inside the penalty area however this time the angle was a little sharper and the shot went wide of the post.

Pressure continued and a couple or resulting corners were crossed in by Baran however a clear header on target was missing.

30 minutes in and Eastbourne still very lively and well organised angled a long ball to the right and being shielded by Leo looked to be going our for a throw. Unfortunately an Eastbourne player managed to keep the ball in play, nicked the ball past Leo and crossed to an unmarked forward in the area. A great reaction save from Aiden went straight to another Eastbourne player who finished into an empty net. 1-1 HT.

A stern talk at HT was handed out explaining that the ball was being given away far to many times in midfield, lack of talking, lack of width, and that the ball needed to be released far quicker for our forwards to work with.

Second half started a little brighter and again it was more of a midfield battle with few clear cut chances. However as the game moved on into the last phase we were looking exposed with less cover between midfield and centre of defence so swapped to a 4-4-2 rather than relying on 3 at the back. Eastbourne were winning all of the first balls and 50/50’s and then from a rather innocuous looking throw-in in the 60th minute Eastbourne managed to turn a defender and shoot low into the corner of the goal 2-1 60 min.

2 minutes later and in a dangerous area, the ball was given away in midfield, a long distance shot hit the back of the net 3-1 62 min. Again and only 90 seconds later a long Eastbourne ball through the centre caught the midfield and defence out and the resulting shot made it 4-1 64 min, a terrible 4-5 minute spell.

Straight from kick off West Hove brought the ball into Eastbourne’s half and had a throw in in the last third. Evan received the ball from the throw close to the penalty area and squared the ball to Chris Robertson who tucked his shot into the far corner 4-2 65 min.

West Hove went with three up front to try and get their third goal as now the momentum was with them however Eastbourne held out. With the last kick of the game and the ball given away yet again in the centre of the pitch Eastbourne punished West Hove to make it 5-2 70 min.

All in all a disappointing day as basics were forgotten, passes and possession needlessly given away, concentration lost and an unusually sluggish performance. Speaking after the match Eastbourne Borough’s manager thought that this match was going to finish 1-1 or felt that we may have nicked it at the end and was as surprised as me with what went on in that 5 minute spell.

Anyway we move on and learn from our mistakes.

MOM Aiden Knowles GK– couldn’t have saved any of the goals today and made a couple of great reaction saves and claims for the ball during the match.

AFC Varndeanians Black U14’s vs West Hove FC U14’s

West Hove FC 1st match of the season ( ever ) was played at BACA home to AFC Varndeanians Black.

The match started with WHFC dominating possession for the first 5 minutes with some great passing and moving until a short pass resulted in AFCV winning the ball and breaking away. Unfortunately their first shot was fumbled and the resulting follow up was put away, 1-0 down after 7 minutes.

WHFC persistently managed to win the ball back in midfield but it was after 18 minutes that Harry Pulford managed to find plenty of space, beat a player on the RHS of the penalty are and shot low into the corner for WHFC U14’s first ever goal 1-1.

Again on the RHS WHFC won a couple of corners and with an in swinging corner from his left foot Baran Gonul managed to score direct from the corner in off the far post 1-2, 23 min.

The 3rd goal again came from a cross on the RHS when Harry managed to beat his marker. The cross found Frank in the penalty who volleyed first time, this unfortunately hit the cross bar but Chris Robertson was on hand to score his first of the season 1-3 28 min.

Some great play on the LHS found Chris Robertson again who manage to shape and curl the ball from the edge of the area and into the corner of the RH goal 1-4 32 min

Chris Robertson hatrick was completed after 37 minutes when some great play from Max in midfield found Chris with a searching cross field ball. Chris controlled the ball and lobbed the keeper from 25 yards, possibly goal of the day 1-5 37 min.

48 minutes and trying to play the ball out of the back between keeper and defender the ball was given away and WHFC were punished 2-5 48 min.

Again after some great work in midfield Baran broke down the LHS, he managed to get in front of his man and held him off to complete a low shot across goal into the corner of the goal 2-6 50 min.

53 minutes resulted in a foul on Harry Pulford in side the penalty area – who picked the ball up and blasted to the keepers RHS 2-7 53 min.

In the 60th minute again Harry managed to beat his player and crossed a pinpoint ball to Baran who headed into the corner of the goal to complete his hatrick to start his season off in style. 2-8 60 min.

In the last minute of the match a very dubious decision resulted in AFCV having a free kick on the edge of the area, their shot found the very top corner from 20 yards out and absolutely nothing any keeper could have done. 3-8 70 min.

A great performance by all 14 players who managed minutes today, especially Haydn Priddey our captain who has been out injured since February. Defence was steady, Midfield of Max Noble, Fil Lavacchini , Evan Speck and Frank Saunders all very hard working and and two Strikers with 6 goals between them. 2 stone cold penalty decision were turned down along with the woodwork being hit 3-4 times.

MOM – Harry Pulford – 2 goals – 2 assists – found space well and some great crosses.

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