Away cup match played on 01 November 2014.
Kicked off at 1:30 PM

Catsfield's Sussex Cup adventure continued on Saturday as they travelled to Portslade to take on Portslade Athletic in the second round. For the second Sussex Cup game in a row a thread bare squad of 11 plus injured goalkeeper D. Champion made the 80-mile round trip with their fingers crossed that no one got injured during the game.

Team News

With only 11 players available the starting XI picked itself, setting up in the traditional 4-4-2 formation.

Despite N. Champion's MOM performance between the sticks last week, it was the returning Winn that was selected to go in goal with N. Champion himself slotting in to centre back with Rawlings - the latter's transformation from wide midfielder to centre back has been a successful one. Atkins slotted in his natural position at right back, where he shone at the back end of last season whilst the returning Thomas replaced the injured Swain at left back.

A midfield shake-up consisted of three changes from the one that beat Crowhurst the previous week, Rollison the only player who kept his position in centre midfield. He was partnered by Gurr who played left midfield the previous 2 weeks. White dropped from striker to left midfield and the returning Booth started in right midfield.

A completely different attack from the one that started at Crowhurst saw Harris and Reus partnered for the first time this season, these two both scored a goal-a-piece in the previous round in this competition at Horsham.

Solid Start

From the outset of this game, Catsfield could once again see the pitch playing its part in the latter stages of the tie. The sheer length and width of the pitch not to mention the 3-inch long grass and stodgy surface would do the Cats no favours at all as the game went on.

It was, in fact, Catsfield who started the brighter of the two sides. A long ball from Booth to Reus straight from kick-off almost saw the latter in on goal within the first few seconds of the game - the ball just being a tad too long and running out for a goal kick. The Catsfield pressure continued to mount and when Reus was hauled down 25-yards from goal in the 10th minute, the game saw its first real effort on goal - Harris' free kick beating the wall but sailing narrowly over the crossbar. The Cats continued to be the better side - Atkins, Booth and Harris all linking up well down the right hand side and the Cats switching the ball at every opportunity to the opposite flank to try and utilise the huge pitch. There was no other real action in either sides penalty boxes until the first goal arrived in the 25th minute. Good work from Booth down the right saw his efforts rewarded with a corner. Reus swung it over for it to be cleared to the edge of the box where Rollison was lingering. His first time strike flew in to the top left hand corner of the net with the goalkeeper rooted to the spot - 3 goals in 4 games for the midfielder - this one being the pick of the bunch. 1-0 to the Cats.

Catsfield looked comfortable and on the basis of their first half performance probably deserved to go in to the break with the lead. The lead, however, only lasted 10 minutes as the equaliser came from a Portslade corner in the 35th minute - a header that flew past Winn. The corner was Portslade's first real chance of the half. It was then the home side, in fact, that might of thought themselves unlucky not to go in to half time with the lead when their attacker broke the offside trap and bore down on goal - the onrushing Winn made an exceptional stop to keep the score level at 1-1 - and that's exactly how the first half ended, 1-1.

Smash and Grab

The second half was almost a carbon copy of the Sandhurst game - the huge pitch, tiredness and lack of fresh legs all played their part as Catsfield never really threatened in the second half. As soon as Catsfield were in possession it wasn't long until Portslade had won it back. Portslade then went on to dominate the second half with Catsfield visibly flagging. A host of chances throughout the second half for the home side should really have seen them score 3 or 4 but a combination of Winn, the crossbar, last ditch heroic tackles from Atkins and Rawlings and poor finishing saw the game looking like it was heading to extra time. The turning point of the game didn't happen until the 85th minute when Catsfield almost nicked the winner. Good work from Harris as he hustled the defender in to losing the ball for Thomas to prod it through to Booth who showed good pace to suddenly find himself 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper. He lashed his 18-yard strike towards the bottom left hand corner and for all the world it looked like the Cats had performed the classic smash and grab, the Portslade goalkeeper produced a fantastic save though, and tipped the ball around the post.


Catsfield were made the rue the chance to win it as Portslade duly punished them. A host of Portslade pressure against a Catsfield side who were flat out in the dying embers of the game finally paid off, their striker found himself in acres of room down the right - his low cross to his strike partner was a good one and albeit his best efforts to miss, his scuffed shot somehow looped up and in to the top right hand corner of the net from 10-yards out. Despite some late pressure, Catsfield couldn't find an equaliser and the game finished 2-1 to the home side.

It can't be argued that Portslade deserved to win - their dominance in the second half was more than enough evidence. They were not a better footballing team than the Cats though and ultimately squad size and fitness won this game for them as they utilised all three attacking substitutions well.

Positives can be taken from this game for the Cats however. Atkins giving a MOM performance at right back, Booth getting 90 minutes under his belt after returning from injury, the ability to keep the home side out for 45-odd minutes of a second half in which they dominated and some good football from the Cats - especially in the first half.

Next up for the Cats is a league encounter with Wittersham. Catsfield looking for their second successive league win as they now focus on propelling themselves up the Division 2 table.

#UpTheCats #GunMetalGreys

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