Shield loss to Billingshurst leaves bitter taste for Seaford Town boss
Billingshurst are through to the final of the Supplementary Shield after they defeated Seaford Town 4-0 at The Crouch.
Two goals apiece by Archie Goddard and Jahobi Maher helped the visitors to a comfortable victory against a Seaford team who showed little resemblance to the side who finished top of their group stage.
With a place in the final the prize, the game started as you would expect with a high level of intensity. Billingshurst manager Lee Spickett acknowledged Seaford’s work rate ahead of the game, knowing that his side would need to at least match them in order to gain the upper hand.
Seaford showed signs of danger within the first 15 minutes, with their direct approach play proving a challenge for the away defence initially. At the other end, however, the home side were lucky to not to concede on multiple occasions, with the Billingshurst frontline able to capitalise on several loose touches at the back for Seaford.
The pressure continued to mount for Seaford, and they went behind at the 20-minute mark after the ball fell to Maher on the edge of the area and his effort bobbled under the ‘keeper to give the visitors the lead.
Despite going a goal down, Seaford were still creating a larger volume of chances than their opponents - striker Reece Edwards went close after getting on the end of a set-piece, but was unable to direct the ball goalwards after half an hour. The contest grew ever more competitive as time went on, with both camps becoming more and more vocal from their dugouts as the half progressed.
The game was still very much in the balance at the interval, with Seaford seemingly confident that a single goal could certainly see the momentum carry forward in their favour. Billingshurst remained resilient though as they prepared to attempt to nullify the threat of a Seaford comeback in what looked at first to be a highly contested final 45 minutes between the two sides.
The second half began with Seaford immediately committing more bodies forward, yet consequently becoming susceptible to a Billingshurst counter attack which had already looked threatening in the opening stages. Seaford’s hopes of getting back into the game took a huge blow just after the hour mark, with goalkeeper Jack Webb giving away a penalty after making a mess of a received back pass, leaving him no choice but to bring down the on-rushing Goddard.
It was Goddard who stepped up for Billingshurst, finding the far corner with assurance to double his side’s lead. Things soon went from bad to worse for Seaford, as with centre-back George Olelode in the sin-bin they were left outnumbered at the back. They were punished for it soon enough, after a ball through the middle found Goddard one-on-one with the ‘keeper, who went on to make no mistake in front of goal to make it three.
It was a case of a slowly sinking ship for Seaford, who looked undeniably dejected as hopes of making the final seemed to be slipping away from them. After being unable to get a goal back, the Seaford spark had died out, with their loss of heads resulting in giving away a 90th minute penalty following a late challenge from left back Matt Holland.
This time it was Maher who took responsibility from the spot, with his effort just about finding its way into the net to make it four and to seal what was a deserved victory for Billingshurst, who will now go on to face Midhurst in the final of the Shield.
Seaford Town manager Paul Wise was undoubtedly disappointed after the game, stating how his side’s poor performance had ‘left a bitter taste’ after what had been a very impressive Shield campaign up to this point. It was a confident display from Billingshurst, with Spickett pleased that his side were able to keep their nerve and see out the victory in dominant fashion.