Catsfield went in to their final game of September looking to end the month with an unblemished record. Their opponents, Bexhill United II’s, had lost both of their opening games whilst the Cats had a perfect record of played 2, won 2, with zero goals conceded in the process.
Catsfield continued with the 3-5-2 formation that seemed to work well last week as Manager Nick Gurr made a few changes, utilising the huge squad at his disposal.
Catsfield number 1, D. Champion, kept net for The Pests. One enforced change in the back 3 from last week as P. Waughman came in for Madge, joining Luke and N. Champion in defence.
The midfield saw 2 changes from last week. Absentee W. Thwaites was replaced by the returning J. Vincent whilst Crathern and K. Manning were joined by Rollison in the centre of the park. B. Thwaites slotted in at left midfield.
1 change up front as Matthews was partnered with Booth as Harris dropped to the bench.
Swain, Paffett and A. Manning were the other Catsfield subs.
Straight from the kick-off Catsfield knew they were in a game. The pacey wingers and front man for the visitors causing the Cats back line trouble almost instantly. It didn’t take long for Bexhill to create their first couple of chances. D. Champion saving well from the visiting striker before seeing an effort crash off the bar minutes later. Luke was then in the right place at the right time to clear off the line when a goal for Bexhill looked certain.
N. Champion had to be substituted in only the 15th minute after going down. A trip to A+E later revealed ligament damage in his foot with the doctor’s prognosis a 6 week layoff. He was replaced by Swain in a straight swap at the back.
Catsfield first chance came from a speculative looping header from Matthews from the edge of the box which caused the ‘keeper all sorts of trouble before hitting the top of the bar and going out. It was then K. Manning who went close, rising to meet a corner but his header went just wide. K. Manning then found himself in the referee’s book minutes later after what is believed to be persistent infringements despite the protests from the Catsfield midfielder.
Half time came with the scores level at 0-0 although the home side could consider themselves reasonably lucky not to be behind.
The second half began in a much similar fashion to the first. The Cats making the most of their nine lives when a visiting striker’s cheeky chip over D. Champion clipped the underside of the bar before bouncing on the line and then away to safety.
The deadlock was broken 10 minutes later and it was the visitors who got the goal. An onrushing midfielder finding space just inside the Catsfield box before firing a low left footed shot in to D. Champion’s left hand corner. 0-1.
The goal seemed to bring Catsfield to life, who almost equalised immediately. First, B. Thwaites saw a looping right foot effort just go over the bar before Booth controlled nicely on the edge of the box before volleying narrowly wide of the post. The Cats then made their second substitution of the afternoon as A. Manning replaced B. Thwaites in a straight swap on the left.
With the Cats now on top an equaliser looked a certainty. It was the visitors that then sucker punched Catsfield by grabbing the second goal of the afternoon in a carbon copy of the first. 0-2.
The second goal of the game knocked the stuffing out of Catsfield. The visitors, content with what they had, then sat back for the remainder of the game looking to soak up the late Catsfield pressure and see the game out. The hosts then got themselves a life line with about 5 minutes to play when a Luke free kick was pumped in to the box was flapped at by the goalkeeper before trickling past him in to the net. 1-2.
Despite an onslaught for the next few minutes, Catsfield couldn’t find an equaliser and the referee blew the full time whistle to confirm a first defeat of the season for the Cats.
Catsfield will be disappointed to end the month with a defeat despite a great opening two games. With no game next week it will be a fortnight before the Cats can try to get back to winning ways when they lock horns with Bexhill Rovers at Gunters Lane.
Hopefully this result is just a blip in what has been a very positive start to life in Division 3 for the Cats. The search for promotion continues…
FT: Catsfield 1-2 Bexhill United II
#UpTheCats #ThePests #GunMetalGreys