Billingshurst boss says player unavailability is ‘killing us’ after St Francis defeat

Football, Southern Combination League Division 1: Storrington v Billingshurst SR1720215.  Chris Simmons manager. Pic Steve Robards SUS-170828-105008001
Football, Southern Combination League Division 1: Storrington v Billingshurst SR1720215. Chris Simmons manager. Pic Steve Robards SUS-170828-105008001

Billingshurst manager Chris Simmons said player unavailability is ‘killing us’ after they suffered a 3-1 defeat to St Francis Rangers on Tuesday night.

Hurst had a much changed side again from the weekend with goalkeeper Liam Matthews, and Jamie Bennett out injured and Dave Watts, James Hancock out through work commitments.

Despye this, they started the Division 1 clash brightly and even though it was a very poor surface, were trying to pass the ball around.

Both sides struggled with the uneven surface and no real chances were created until the 25th minute when a soft free kick was awarded 25 yards from the Hurst goal and Danile Lilley placed the ball perfectly in the top left corner.

Hurst fought straight back and had good chances in the 26th and 27th minute through Tilley, the latter crashing against the cross bar from close range, and again on 30 minutes when a cross from Tom Bradshaw was met by Tilley and his header went just over.

On 35 minutes, Tilley pressed the full-back into the corner and won possession before laying the ball off to Stallibrass to score the equaliser.

The second half was very similar to the first, until the 52 minute when a long hopeful ball fell to Manley for St Francis and he swivelled past Ryan Carse to slot past Paul Taylor in goal.

Hurst rallied to get back in the game but were undone by a long through ball and the striker was first to the ball to lob over Taylor in goal.

Manager Simmons said: “Unavailability of players at this stage of the season is killing us, we deserved more out of this game but a couple of poor bits of defending cost us in the end tonight.

“We now face a tough away game to league leaders Little Common at the weekend.”

Hurst: Taylor, Game, Bowles, Carse, Joels, Bradshaw, Lambkin, Bowles, Copestake, Tilley, Stallibrass Subs: Simester, Meech, Simmons.