Brighton in revival mood as they scare Sevenoaks
Conference East round-up
IT looked like it could be a long second half of the season when Brighton & Hovewere thumped 80 by league-leaders Teddington on their return after Christmas.
But while two more defeats have since followed for the south-coast side, skipper Tom Langston insists there is cause of optimism ahead of this week’s clash with West Herts.
Brighton were beaten by high-flying Sevenoaks but it was not the thrashing some may have predicted.
With the scores locked at 1-1 at half-time, the hosts arguably had the better of the chances after the break, but were made to pay for a defensive error nine minutes from time.
Mike Barber pounced in a goalmouth scramble when Brighton twice failed to clear a loose ball, bundling the ball home for a 2-1 victory that kept Sevenoaks on par with Teddington at the top of the standings.
And Langston is confident that with West Herts just six points ahead of them, Brighton’s form is now good enough to topple the seventh-placed side this weekend.
“It was a tight game and the result wasn’t what we were after unfortunately, but we played well and pushed a side who are very close to the top of the league,” he said.
“We probably should have got something from the game to be honest, but it’s not helped things that our first three games back after the break have been against the best teams in the league.
“You’re playing against a lot of former Olympians and Premier League players in those teams, but we’ve been a lot better since the Teddington game.
“That was a one-off performance, a very poor one, and we’ve been a lot better since. If we keep playing like that a run of results will follow.
“The key was to make sure that was a one-off result. Every team has bad days, but we needed to make sure that wasn’t a trend and that we learnt from our mistakes.
“West Herts are a good team and have some good players, but so do we and they won’t be as good as Sevenoaks.
“The league is now clearly split into a top five and everybody else, so we want to finish as high up in that minileague as we can.”
West Herts remain six points clear of Brighton despite their 3-2 loss at Southgate, but despite the close scoreline, the Londoners looked comfortable throughout.
Drew Burkin and Paulie Singh put the hosts two goals up inside 14 minutes, and, despite Dan Webster’s penalty stroke, Will Holt’s goal with four minutes remaining made sure of the result and made William Grbic’s late strike a mere consolation.
Top side Teddington continued their charge by humbling Indian Gymkhana 4-0, largely thanks to a Matt Daly hat-trick.
The penalty corner specialist grabbed two from set-pieces after his fifth-minute opener from open play, taking his league tally for the season to a whopping 19.
Richmond stayed fifth despite falling to Mike Trim’s penalty stroke which swung a topsyturvy encounter the way of Oxted, one place below them.
Both sides led during the match, with Oxted’s Johnathan Jauncey responding to Charlie Ellison’s corner before Richmond’s Joshua Mardell cancelled out Andy Cornick’s effort, but the visitors clinched it to close the gap to their opponents to five points.
And in Saturday’s only clash, Cambridge City kept up their chase on the top two with a 5-2 win at Wapping – Scott Perry netting twice.