Simmons stresses Billingshurst have to cut-out conceding set-pieces

Billingshurst vs St Francis Rangers SUS-170910-091436001
Billingshurst vs St Francis Rangers SUS-170910-091436001

Billingshurst manager Chris Simmons has stressed to his side they have to stop conceding soft goals from set-pieces after a 3-1 defeat to AFC Varndeanians.

Second-bottom Hurst failed to narrow the gap on their visitors in Division 1 as they battle to beat the drop.

Despite taking an early lead through the returning Jake Chadwick, goals from Elliott Wood, a Ryan Carse own goal and Oliver Blackman strike condemned ten-man Hurst to their 23rd defeat of the season.

Hurst, who were without Craig Grantham, Nick Tilley and Ollie Joels, settled quicker and on eight minutes it was across that was met perfectly by the incoming Chadwick to side foot home to put Hurst ahead.

Hurst gave away a needless foul on 14 minutes and a good cross from 35 yards was not cleared by the Hurst defence and Wood capitalised to level.

The home side started slowly in the second and AFC were gifted another soft free kick on 53 minutes. From 40-yards out, a long hopeful cross was headed into his own net by Carse.

On 80 minutes, a poor challenge from Chris Copestake in front of the away dugout caused uproar from their management team and a red card was shown.

From the resulting free kick, a Varndeanians player sliced his set-piece, but the ball sailed over the Hurst keeper to give AFC the three points.

Simmons said: “Again we started really well and looked much the better footballing side but when you can’t stop conceding goals from set pieces you are not going to win anything at this level.

“The red card was harsh but Chris’ tackle was poor and gave the ref a decision to make. It could of gone either way but the appeals from the other side probably swayed it if I’m honest.

“Again I don’t think we did enough to win the game, but I don’t think we deserved to lose either, we missed the attacking force of Tilley and Grantham and the energy and quality of Ollie Joels. We now have two really important games at home to Bexhill and Selsey and these are going to be critical to where we finish.”