Billingshurst denied at the death at Selsey

Late drama saw Billingshurst heartbroken as they had to settle with just a point away at Selsey on Tuesday night.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 2:09 pm
Action from Billingshurst's visit to Selsey / Picture: Chris Hatton

It looked as though Sam Bull's 87th-minute strike would be enough to give 'Hurst a deserved three points on the coast, but a controversial night was capped off when the hosts made it 3-3 in stoppage time to share the spoils.

As the game reached its pinnacle, the officials showed visiting full-back Keiran Britland a straight red card for what was deemed a last-man tackle - despite the referee initially waving play on. From the resulting free-kick, Bradley Higgins-Pearce sent a low effort rolling through a poor Billingshurst wall to level the Division 1 clash.

The result was harsh on Hurst who came back from an early set-back when a soft free-kick was headed home by an unmarked Tom Jefkins after just five minutes. Suggestions of the chaotic scenes to come first materialised on seven minutes when the linesman flagged for a foul on the far side, but oddly the match referee pointed to the penalty spot.

Protests from the Billinghurst player and bench seemed to fall on deaf ears until the man in the middle decided to eventually consult with his assistant and correctly award a free kick yards outside the box. The visitors grew into the game after that and deservedly levelled on 16 minutes as Lewis Reeves played a clearance forward and Nick Tilley raced inside the Selsey right-back to finish well across goal.

The in-form forward should have put the visitors ahead soon after as he found himself well placed in the box but Syd Davies made a good point-blank save. The hosts also had a couple of good chances before the break as Josh Clarke mistimed a header when well placed and then was denied by a brilliant stop from Jordan Jenner.

Billingshurst's habit of slow starts to the second half was evident again after the break when a muddle of missed tackles and chances saw Clarke toe-punt the loose ball in off the underside of the bar for a 2-1 lead. Straight from the restart, the scores were levelled again as Tommy Stephens played forward to Bull and he skipped a couple of challenges to fire home.

After a wayward spell, the visitors took the game by the scruff of the neck and had strong penalty appeals waved away when Nash was body-checked in the box, before the winger fired over and Bull did the same on the angle.Tilley saw a header agonisingly come back off the post on 77 minutes, before he was replaced by new-signing Tim Bennett. The former YMCA forward had a good chance of his own go begging before springing the offside trap and putting a pin-point ball across to Bull to make it 3-2.

After the late drama, Billingshurst boss Lee Spickett focussed on his side’s positive display. "To come down here on a Tuesday night and put in the performance we did, I’m very pleased. We’re asking the boys to improve with each game and they’re responding. To score three goals away from home and only get a point is disappointing, but I thought we more than competed with Selsey, we created numerous chances and on another day we run out winners.”