Away league match played on 03 September 2016.
Kicked off at 3:00 PM

Catsfield kicked off the new campaign at newly promoted Hailsham Athletico. The Cats travelled to Eastbourne Sports Park in search of 3 points to ensure the perfect start. After a bitter relegation last season, Catsfield are looking to bounce straight back up, putting the disappointing 2015/16 campaign behind them. A squad overhaul that has seen over 10 new signings as well as many of the old guard re-signing puts new manager Nick Gurr in a tough spot with many players competing for the same position.

Team News
Catsfield shaped up with a traditional 4-4-2 formation that boasted competitive Catsfield debuts for no less than 5 players.

D. Champion returned in goal after missing much of the last campaign with T. Luke and R. Madge starting in central defence in what was already looking like a formidable partnership after only playing one friendly together. I. Swain retained his regular left back role whilst A. Manning slotted in at right back after playing numerous positions last season and in pre-season friendlies.

The midfield saw 3 players making their debuts. Catsfield regular D. Booth started in central midfield and was partnered by new signing Karl Manning who has dropped down 3 divisions to ply his trade with the Cats. Injuries and absentees saw usual right back J. Vincent given a right midfield role and W. Thwaites was given the left midfield role after impressing there in pre-season.

The season started with a new strike partnership in S. Harris and new signing G. Matthews who are both looking to get amongst the goals this season.

N. Champion, M. Rawlings and G. Paffett were named as the Catsfield subs.

Confident Start
Catsfield started brightly, knocking the ball around confidently. After a tense 20 odd minutes feeling each other out, the Cats started to assert their dominance, having the lion’s share of possession despite not really creating a clear cut goal scoring opportunity. The Catsfield dominance was rewarded in the 23rd minute when a quick W. Thwaites corner found K. Manning on the corner of the Hailsham box. He unleashed a laser of a shot that arrowed right in to far corner leaving the goalkeeper rooted to the spot – a goal of the season contender already. 0-1.

Catsfield’s dominance continued and just over 10 minutes later they grabbed the games second goal. A T. Luke freekick taken from deep was flicked on by W. Thwaites that found G. Matthews completely unmarked 6 yards out. His controlled, first time finish once again left the goalkeeper rooted. 0-2.

The half time whistle came shortly after as the Cats went in at the break two goals to the good. The half time message was to keep it tight, not give anything silly away and the third goal will inevitably come.

Cruise Control
The second half started much like how the first half ended. Catsfield dominating the possession, winning it back quickly after losing it. The games third and killer goal came 10 minutes in to the second half. A ball up to S. Harris from A. Manning was flicked in to the path of J. Vincent who beat his man for pace. His left footed shot from just inside the area wrong footed the goalkeeper and nestled in the bottom right hand corner. 3-0.

The goal seemed to have knocked the stuffing out of the home side and Catsfield continued to cruise their way through the second half. N. Champion then replaced S. Harris up top and M. Rawlings replaced J. Vincent on the right.

A couple of half chances for either team is all that came of the last 20 minutes until the referee finally blew the final whistle to confirm Catsfield’s dream start to life in Division 3.

On To The Next One
The relegation woes of last season were all but gone after this excellent team performance. The Cats now face Hollington United II next week at The Rec who will probably be challenging for top spot this season. This will be a true test for an exciting new look Catsfield squad. It will also be an indicator to themselves to see if they have what it takes to be up challenging for the title themselves this year.

FT: Hailsham Athletico 0-3 Catsfield

#UpTheCats #ThePests #GunMetalGreys

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