Catsfield turned their attention away from the league this week as were focused on putting a decent cup run together to coincide with their decent start to the campaign. Hollington United II’s were the opponents as the two sides locked horns for the second time this season, the Cats coming out 2-0 victors in the first meeting. This game would prove much more of a challenge after it was announced that a thread bare squad after a host of players being unavailable meant that manager Nick Gurr had only 12 players to pick from, including himself.
Catsfield continued with the 4-4-2 formation after much success already this season with it, despite a couple of players being played out of position, the make-shift Catsfield side would have to make do.
D. Champion returned in goal after missing last week. Madge was partnered in the centre of defence by B. Newman, the latter making his first appearance of the season. Captain for the day Swain slotted in at left back with Paffett, who was making his first start of the season, at right back.
The midfield saw 3 changes from last week, K. Manning the only player retaining his place from the Battle game. Rollison was moved from right midfield to centre midfield. W. Thwaites dropped from striker last week to left midfield this week with usual right back P. Waughman being asked to do a job at right midfield.
The two strikers was made up of S. Harris and J. Jones, the pair looking to continue the good chemistry shown in the Hailsham home game, when the latter bagged himself a hat trick.
Manager N. Gurr was the only Catsfield sub for this one.
Shaky Start Punished
Catsfield started sluggishly, trying but failing to even get out of their own half. Hollington, however, piled on the pressure and had a host of corners in the opening minutes. Before the Cats could even mount their first attack they found themselves 1-0 down. A corner sent in to the box from Hollington somehow found the feet of an unmarked Hollington midfielder 6 yards out, his scuffed shot dribbled in to the bottom corner. 1-0.
It was only 15 minutes later that 1-0 became 2-0. A freekick was awarded to the hosts 35 yards out on the right touch line. An in-swinging cross was sent in that found the head of the unmarked Hollington striker, who was also the smallest man on the pitch, 6 yards out in the centre of goal. His header planted in the left hand corner, giving D. Champion in goal no chance. 2-0.
Catsfield got themselves back in the game on the half hour mark with what was their first meaningful attack. K. Manning driving up through the midfield, slipped a ball in to Jones down the left hand side of the box. His first time left foot shot caught the keeper off guard and nestled in the bottom left hand corner. 2-1.
The comeback was short lived however as Hollington grabbed their third and the games fourth goal less than 10 minutes later. A freekick in the exact same position as the one that resulted in their second goal. Once again it was crossed in, this time it was a deep cross that seemed to evade everyone. Everyone except a Hollington midfield who had peeled off at the back post. His first time volley flew past D. Champion in to the back of the net. 3-1.
The much needed halftime whistle came 5 minutes later. Catsfield using the break to gather their thoughts, regroup, and discuss how they’d go about trying to get back in the game in the second half.
The second half began in a polar opposite of the first. A more composed Catsfield were now more confident on the ball and playing the ball about nicely despite not making any clear cut goal scoring chances. The Cats pressure was rewarded with several free kicks in dangerous positions, Newman seeing an effort blocked by the wall before W. Thwaites sent in a delicious delivery that only needed a touch for it to go in. Hollington were limited to counter attacks in the second half, the Hollington striker being in on goal before being flagged for offside probably being the best chance.
With time running out, Catsfield were finally carving out chances with almost every attack. Harris slid a ball between defenders down the left flank for W. Thwaites, the latter cutting in and driving a low, hard cross along the six yard box, a sliced clearance from the defender evading 3 on rushing Catsfield players in the box when a goal looked certain.
The final chance for the visitors was a 20-yard left footed effort destined for the top left hand corner from Harris. A big paw from the Hollington goalkeeper tipped it over however.
The referee blew the full time whistle and with the damage done in the first half, Catsfield were made to rue their sluggish start.
Top Of The Table Clash
Despite positives being taken from the second half, Catsfield will look to put this result behind them. Their focus will once again shift back to the league next week as they face top of the table Bexhill Rovers in a game that if Catsfield win, will see them go top of Division 3, still with a game in hand over Rovers.
FT: Hollington United II 3-1 Catsfield
#UpTheCats #ThePests #GunMetalGreys