‘Rollercoaster’ for Steyning, who show late Gritt in title-chasing clash with Alfold

Alfold manager Jack Munday felt his side were worthy of the victory as they were pegged back by a stoppage-time equaliser in their top-of-the-table clash with Steyning Town at The Shooting Field.

Friday, 15th February 2019, 9:00 am
Updated Monday, 18th February 2019, 10:07 am
DM1921741a.jpg. Football: Steyning v Alfold. The final goal. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-190902-184100008

It was a fixture that lived up to the big billing, with Alfie Gritt’s 94th-minute strike ensuring the Division 1 thriller ended all square at 3-3.

Town raced into a 2-0 lead inside 15 minutes through Ryan Timms and Gritt, only to find themselves trailing on 75 minutes as ‘Fold struck back through Johden De Meyer, Andy Howard and Tiago Andrade.

However, Steyning were not to be denied and Gritt grabbed a second to ensured the hosts came away with a point.

DM1921587a.jpg. Football: Steyning v Alfold. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-190902-183850008

The point was enough to move Steyning up a place to second, after Bexhill United were beaten at Selsey, just a point off leaders Alfold with a game in hand.

The game was Alfold’s last against one of the top five of which they have been unbeaten in with two draws and six wins.

Munday said: “It’s hard to accept when you concede that late on especially after doing so well to go in front after being two goals down.

“I thought we deserved the win, apart from the first 15 where we were caught sleeping for two set pieces. Although being two goals down, we still felt confident we could get back into as we continued to exploit their weaknesses and eventually that paid off. You have to hand it to Steyning who kept going until the last seconds for their equaliser. We are disappointed to end up with just one point, but if you look over the course of the season there are games we didn’t deserve to win so I think it evens itself out.”

DM1921633a.jpg. Football: Steyning v Alfold. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-190902-183901008

Ryan Timms and Gritt netted inside 15 minutes as Town opened up a 2-0 lead from goals coming via set-pieces.

Alfold woke up and in the 20th minute, Jordan Mase was bundled over by Steyning goalkeeper JJ Banasco-Zaragoza and De Meyer struck from the spot.

The hosts then had skipper Alex Gathern forced off through injury and Banasco-Zaragoza denied Andrade, who also had an effort off the line. Alfold continued to press after the break and Howard levelled on the hour, heading home a Jack Stafford free kick.

Andrade had an overhead saved, before their impressive turnaround was complete when the striker worked himself into a shooting position and found the net 15 minutes from time. But deep in added time, Gritt struck for the second time from a long throw to rescue a point.

DM1921646a.jpg. Football: Steyning v Alfold. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-190902-183912008

Steyning boss Gerry Murphy said: “It was a good game for the fans but for the management of both sides it was a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions.

“To go two goals up early on was great but losing a goal to a penalty so soon after made us a bit nervy and we didn’t pass the ball well enough on the day.

“We had to readjust our team at the break after Alex Gathern went off.

“It was a great effort from the boys to grab a draw against a good team to were better than us on the day.”

DM1921658a.jpg. Football: Steyning v Alfold. Photo by Derek Martin Photography.

Steyning now face a derby clash at Billingshurst on Saturday, while Alfold are at home to Wick.

DM1921692a.jpg. Football: Steyning v Alfold. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-190902-183818008