Alfold edge ill-tempered affair with Littlehampton to go top of the table

Alfold v Littlehampton. Pic Steve Robards SR1903085 SUS-190402-134737001
Alfold v Littlehampton. Pic Steve Robards SR1903085 SUS-190402-134737001

Alfold went top of Division 1 as they edged an ill-tempered thriller with Littlehampton in a match that saw three red cards.

The hosts took advantage of other fixtures being off as they leapfrogged previous leaders Steyning Town with a 4-3 victory.

Alfold v Littlehampton. Pic Steve Robards SR1903087 SUS-190402-134748001

Alfold v Littlehampton. Pic Steve Robards SR1903087 SUS-190402-134748001

Goals from Tiago Andrade (two), Johden De Meyer and Kelvin Lucas saw ‘Fold take all three points – something that looked unlikely when they had goalkeeper Luis Correia sent off with half-hour still to play.

The lead continued to change hands as Littlehampton’s James Thurgar completed his hat-trick, but the visitors also had two players sent off as Lucas bagged the winner.

With many games off due to the bad weather, the ever reliable Recreation Ground held out and it was game on.

Alfold were missing Jack Stafford, Sam Lemon and Zach Grey, while Littlehampton also missing some of their key players including the suspended Jack Langford.

Alfold v Littlehampton. Alfold score. Pic Steve Robards SR1903103 SUS-190402-134810001

Alfold v Littlehampton. Alfold score. Pic Steve Robards SR1903103 SUS-190402-134810001

The visitors struck first after a mistake at the back which saw Thurgar creep through and place the ball home inside 15 minutes.

Alfold hit back five minutes later with a powerful run from full-back Jamal Sultan who exchanged passes with Andrade, who found the bottom corner for 1-1.

Littlehampton went back in front after Thurgar headed in at the far post before, on the half-hour mark, Andrade was clipped by Danny Hand inside the box and De Meyer stepped up and slotted resulting penalty home.

Ten minutes into the second half, Alfold were dealt with a hammer blow when goalkeeper Correia came out to take a free kick. A Littlehampton forward tried to snatch the ball out of his hand and then threw himself to the floor, the referee and linesman consulted and opted to send Correia off.

Alfold v Littlehampton. Alfold score. Pic Steve Robards SR1903101 SUS-190402-134759001

Alfold v Littlehampton. Alfold score. Pic Steve Robards SR1903101 SUS-190402-134759001

Alfold reacted quickly and Andrade doubled his tally after neat work from Ben Chowney.

Littlehampton then were also down to ten men after Hand committed another foul and was rightly sent off. But Golds again levelled after Clyde Jacques fouled Thurgar inside the box who then converted his penalty for 3-3.

The game then took yet another turn as Golds midfielder Grant Thetford took down Jordan Mase from behind and resulted in Thetford rightly given his marching orders as well.

Alfold then went all out for the winner and on 75 minutes played new signing Lucas cut inside on his left foot and buried his effort into the bottom corner to make it 4-3.

Alfold v Littlehampton. Pic Steve Robards SR1903109 SUS-190402-134821001

Alfold v Littlehampton. Pic Steve Robards SR1903109 SUS-190402-134821001

Manager Jack Munday was relieved to get the three points and said: “It looked as though we wouldn’t take all the points once we went down to ten men, especially with it being our goalkeeper.

“Thankfully Littlehampton lost control of themselves and were reduced to nine men. We were not at our best, but fortunately like other occasions this season we played badly but won.

“The red card for Luis couldn’t have come at a worse time as we visit league favourites Steyning next week but we have to accept that and get on with it.”

Alfold: Correia, Sultan, Jacques, Howard, Joseph, Chowney (Fowler), Mase, Nourse, Lucas, De Meyer (Purkis), Andrade. Unused: Pett, Munday.