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First Team Match Reports 2013 / 14 Season

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:: Ringmer 0, East Grinstead Town 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
A fine second-half display ensured Grinstead secured 2nd position and their highest ever finish in the County League.

It was a must win game to secure second spot and more importantly the possible opportunity to compete in the Ryman League next season.

Grinstead brought along a large travelling contingent of over 100 spectators to cheer them onto to victory and had very few nervous moments as Grinstead despite the pressure of the situation always appeared in command of the game.

The nerves could have been calmed as early as the first minute when Dan Turner’s strike from the edge of the box cannoned off the bar as Grinstead started brightly. On a difficult pitch chances were at a premium but following a mix up in the Ringmer defence, Matt Geard released Keiran Pamment but his shot was deflected wide from close range.

Grinstead did suffer their biggest scare five minutes before half time. Jack McLean’s cross was collected by Seb Saunders but his effort was superbly blocked by Jon Hampson in the Grinstead defence.

Attacking down the slope in the second half it only took Grinstead three minutes to take the all-important lead. Pamment found Michael Belli down the right, his cross was met by Turner at the back post who shot past Joshua James from close range. Pamment then had a great opportunity to double the lead when being put clear by Belli but his mis-hit shot was cleared off the line.

Grinstead weren’t sitting on their slender lead and with twenty minutes to go they brought on top scorer Sam Schaaf and he made an immediate impact. Schaaf was fouled on the edge of the box and from the resultant free kick Pammnet hit a curling free kick inside James' near post which led to wild celebrations.

Ringmer never looked like clawing back the two goal deficit and in the final minute, substitute Craig Goodsir put the gloss on the victory when he converted a right wing cross.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Harding, Sinclair, Pelling, Zydonik, Turner(Schaaf 71), Cooney, Pamment(White 90), Geard, Belli(Goodsir 85). Subs not used: Johnston, Christie

:: Lingfield 0, East Grinstead Town 2 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Grinstead have their fate back in their hands after a 2-0 win, in a surprisingly low key game against local rivals Lingfield on Bank Holiday Monday.

The Wasps had dropped to third in the Sussex County League Division One after a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Littlehampton Town on Saturday.

But they bounced back with the perfect response at Godstone Road, as two goals from Matt Geard gave them victory in a scrappy local derby.

The Wasps had the better of the chances in the first half, with Michael Belli going close twice, either side of Geard’s opener on 21 minutes, with the midfielder showing composure to finish off a fine team move, involving Craig Goodsir and Kieran Pamment.

Geard doubled the visitors’ advantage 12 minutes into the second half, firing in a superb free kick from just outside the box to give his side some breathing space after Keiran Pamment had been fouled following a strong run.

Lingfield huffed and puffed, but only looked dangerous from set pieces as they looked for a route back into the game, but the Wasps comfortably closed out the match to move back into second place, courtesy of Littlehampton losing 3-2 at champions East Preston.

Grinstead now have a two point advantage over their rivals for second place with just one game to go, away at Ringmer on Saturday, May 3.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Harding, Sinclair, Pelling, Zydonik, Belli, Cooney, Pamment (Gellatly), Geard, Goodsir. Subs not used: Noakes, Funnell, Simpson

:: Littlehampton Town 3, East Grinstead Town 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps lost their second place in the Sussex County Division One table with a 3-0 defeat against Littlehampton Town.

Grinstead will now have to rely on the results of Littlehampton’s remaining two games if they are to achieve second and possible promotion to the Ryman League.

Grinstead started the more brightly and were in the ascendancy in the opening exchanges but once Littlehampton got into their stride they always looked the more likely to score. Littlehampton played a very attacking 4-3-3 formation and Grinstead defence had trouble all afternoon to cope with the movement of Littlehampton’s front three. On a difficult bumpy pitch, Littlehampton looked to play it in the channels and turn the Grinstead back line and they executed this plan perfectly.

Littlehampton had already gone close on a couple of occasions when they took the lead through Jason Jarvis on 26 minutes. Jarvis found space on the edge of the box, and although it wasn’t a clean connection his shot was enough to bounce past Mark Fox and into the bottom corner.

Grinstead nearly equalised moments later when Keiran Pamment found room on the edge of the box but his shot was struck straight at Jon Hendrick in the Littlehampton goal.

The Wasps again started brightly in the second half and Pamment went close on a couple of occasions but Hedrick was equal to his efforts. Again Littlehampton upped the tempo and Grinstead struggled to cope with the pace and directness.

With seventeen minutes Littlehampton had doubled their lead. Jarvis was found on the left and his perfect cross was met by George Gaskin who thundered a header past Fox from close range. Grinstead struggled to make any impression to get back in the game and on 88 minutes Gaskin completed the victory after converting another pin-point left wing cross.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Harding, Belli, Pelling(Noakes), Zydonik, Sinclair, Cooney, Schaaf(White), Geard, Pamment. Subs not used. Funnell.

:: East Grinstead Town 3, Crowborough Athletic 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps warmed up for what could prove to be the game which decides runners-up spot in the County League by completing the double over their local rivals in a hard-fought battle enjoyed by their biggest crowd of the season.

Grinstead travel to Littlehampton this weekend in a match which could give them a great chance of finishing second and possibly gaining promotion to the Ryman League as a result.

In their last three games Wasps have scored 14 goals without reply and not needed the predatory instincts of top scorer Sam Schaaf either, although he did return on Saturday to play his part.

Crowborough had plenty of the ball but Mark Fox was rarely called into action. Some supporters, almost all of a Crowborough persuasion, left muttering about the injustice of the scoreline but the plain fact is that Grinstead defended resolutely and took their chances when they came along.

A fussy referee didn't help to keep proceedings flowing with the first half littered with free kicks. Neither keeper was seriously extended either and neither team enjoyed long spells of pressure.

When the deadlock was broken four minutes before the break it was no surprise that it came from a set piece. Kieran Pamment swung over Grinstead's first corner of the game and picked out Marc Pelling who gave Callum Hampson no chance with a thumping header from close range.

It was just what Simon Funnell's men and the game needed and the second half proved to be much more enjoyable, but only if you were a Wasps' supporter.

They doubled their lead on 67 minutes after referee Butler awarded a spot kick for handball on the advice of his assistant and Matt Geard was nerveless as he sent Hampson the wrong way.

Crows were killed off two minutes later. Pamment was put clear by an excellent through ball by Jon Hampson and took it around the keeper before scoring from the tightest of angles for 3-0.

Wasps coasted to the finishing line and know that victories in their two Easter fixtures at Littlehampton and Lingfield would guarantee runners-up spot.

Team: M. Fox, J. Hampson (S. Johnston 73), K. Wilson, D. Cooney (C), M. Pelling, M. Zydonik, D. Turner, M. Belli, S. Schaaf (R. White 78), M. Geard (J. Sinclair 87), K. Pamment. Substitutes not used: G. Harding, C. Christie (GK).

:: East Grinstead Town 8, Worthing United 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
A second half hat-trick from substitute Rhys White topped off a comprehensive victory over bottom of the table Worthing Utd.

Grinstead were already four goals to the good before youngster White was introduced to the action on the hour mark . He scored with his first touch just moments later with a powerful header following a Dan Turner cross, his second and Grinstead's seventh was a sweet volley from the edge of the box and he rounded off a good night's work from the penalty spot after Michael Belli had been brought down.

The result was never in doubt after Grinstead were two up inside ten minutes. Dan Turner scored the first and his first for the club with a near post header from a Matt Geard corner and moments later Belli poked home after Keiran Pamment's shot had hit the post.

It was all too easy for Grinstead. Geard hit the top of the bar from a long range free-kick and Belli was also denied by the woodwork from close range.

They did extend their lead on the stroke of half time when Belli notched his second converting a good cross from Pamment.

Worthing had a brief spell of pressure at the start of the second half and Steve Burt rattled the crossbar from long range.

This scare galvanised Grinstead and a minute later Geard had made it four converting a left wing cross from Craig Goodsir.

It was then time for White to score his quick fire hat-tick with Scott Johnston also joining in with the scoring when he notched the sixth after keeper Luke Bonetti had spilled another Geard effort.

Team: Fox, Johnston, Hampson (Wilson 46), Cooney, Zydonik(Noakes66),Harding, Turner, Belli, Pamment(White 60), Geard, Goodsir. Subs not used: Pelling, James

:: East Grinstead Town 3, Hailsham Town 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Two goals in the first twenty minutes ensured a comfortable win for Grinstead over struggling Hailsham. The win pushed Grinstead up into second place after Littlehampton suffered a surprise second defeat on the trot to St Francis Rangers.

With John Sinclair, Sam Schaaf, George Hiller-Jones and Guy Harding all unavailable and with Hailsham’s good current form it appeared Grinstead could be in for a difficult afternoon. However Grinstead’s strength in depth meant these players didn’t appear to be missed and having gone ahead after only four minutes there was only going to be one winner.

The opening goal was a cracker. Good work down the left from Craig Goodsir resulted in a half cleared header that fell to Matt Geard who with his weaker foot, the right, hit a stunning volley into the top right hand corner.

Kieran Pamment who was performing the lone striker's role was causing the Hailsham defence all sorts of problems and he doubled the lead on 22 minutes. A quick one two with Michal Belli enabled a free run on goal and he confidently slotted home. Hailsham did try to respond but Grinstead’s defence stood firm and Mark Fox was rarely troubled.

Grinstead’s third came on the hour mark. A cross swung in from the left by Matt Geard eluded the whole of the Hailsham defence and Jon Hampson was there at the back post to fire home for his first goal of the season.

The game was now over as a contest and Grinstead could afford the luxury of substituting Pamment and Goodsir for more difficult challenges that lie ahead to claim the second place spot and possibly Ryman League football next season.

Grinstead did suffer one scare late on when a close range header was superbly kept out by Fox to maintain another clean sheet.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Wilson, Cooney, Pelling, Zydonik, Turner, Belli, Pamment(68 Johnston), Geard, Goodsir (65 White). Subs not used: Christie, Funnell

:: East Grinstead Town 1, Hassocks 1 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps missed the opportunity of moving up to 2nd place after an entertaining draw with Hassocks.

On a difficult night for Grinstead they also lost two of there most influential players to injury in Sam Schaaf and John Sinclair who will be big losses if they are missing for any length of time.

Hassocks created the first opportunity when a long throw fell to Phil Johnson unmarked at the back post but he could only head straight at Mark Fox.

Grinstead then took control. Sinclair's long range effort was straight at keeper Max Collins and then Craig Goodsir volleyed over from close range following a Matt Geard corner.

They did take the lead on fifteen minutes. Schaaf fed the lively Kieran Pamment who cut inside his marker and slotted past keeper Collins.

The game turned just after the half hour mark. Pamment had just missed a golden opportunity to put Grinstead two up when he shot well over from just inside the box with just Collins to beat when Hassocks equalised just a minute later.

A poor punch by Mark Fox fell straight to the dangerous Mark Price who calmly lobbed the ball back into the net from the edge of the box.

The game was now finely balanced. Grinstead started strongly again in the second half. A series of corners were well dealt with by the Hassocks defence before Pamment was denied by a flying save by Collins following a back post header.

Schaaf then hit the post with a long range effort after Collins appeared to think it was going to go wide as Grinstead pushed for the winner. Shortly after Schaaf had to go off injured and suddenly Hassocks looked the more likely to win.

A poor back pass from Mark Zydonik allowed Price in on goal but he was denied by a sharp save by Fox. Then in injury time Grinstead were thankful for Kieran Wilson. He denied Price with a last ditch tackle when he was through on goal and from the resultant corner he headed off the line as Grinstead clung on to a point.

Team: Fox, Hampson (Harding 70), Sinclair (Cooney 20), Pelling, Zydonik, Pamment, Belli, Schaaf (White), Geard, Goodsir. Sub not used: Johnston

:: East Preston 0, East Grinstead Town 2 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps are firmly back in the hunt for runners-up spot in the County League - and possible promotion to the Ryman League - after becoming the first club to beat champions-elect East Preston this season.

EP could clinch the title in the next few days and will be deserved champions according to Grinstead boss Simon Funnell, but there was no doubt Funnell's men deserved this result.

It was slightly marred when midfielder George Hiller-Jones suffered a fractured collar bone after taking a heavy fall in the first half - an injury which will keep him out for the rest of the season but this win will give Wasps huge momentum going into the last seven games of the season as they battle with four clubs - Horsham YMCA, Crowborough, Hassocks and Littlehampton for second place. They still have to play the latter three of that quartet.

The first half at the Lashmar was a cagey affair with neither keeper seriously tested until the 44th minute when Joel Harding in the home goal who smothered Sam Schaaf's header from a good cross by the excellent Kieron Pamment.

Matt Geard and Marc Pelling both headed off target from free kicks while Mark Fox had little to do, which was testament to Grinstead's work-rate in not allowing the home side to settle and play the football they are capable of.

The first goal was always going to be crucial and when Wasps have needed to strike they can normally rely on top scorer Schaaf. On 57 minutes he slipped trying to control Pamment's cross but was still able to pick himself up, beat his marker and fire a low shot past Harding's right for 1-0.

Eight minutes later Wasps doubled their lead. Geard, Michael Belli and John Sinclair were all involved in the move which led to Pamment firing past Harding from just outside the box.

The expected EP response never materialised with only Darren Boswell's tame effort wide offering any threat to Fox's goal. Indeed, Geard and Schaaf could easily have made a good day for Wasps even better had they taken late chances.

No matter. This win will have given Grinstead massive confidence for the run-in and made all their rivals for second place wary of Funnell's men.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Wilson, Sinclair (sub: White 90+1), Pelling, Zydonik, Pamment, Belli, Schaaf, Geard, Hiller-Jones (sub: Goodsir 45+1). Unused sub Johnston

:: East Grinstead Town 4, Newhaven 1 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Grinstead moved up to third after three second half goals ensured three points over a struggling Newhaven side.

Newhaven had lost their previous six games but for the first twenty minutes they were the better side and could have easily found themselves two up.

They did take the lead after only seven minutes. A quick break was thwarted by keeper Mark Fox who denied Tyler Goatcher but from the follow up the lively Lee Robinson stroked home.

Robinson nearly added a second shortly afterwards but Fox denied him from close range.

Robinson was causing the Grinstead defence all manner of problems with his pace but they couldn't add to their lead and Grinstead made them pay with the equaliser on the half hour mark.

Keiran Pamment latched onto a through ball drove into the area and slotted past the advancing keeper Tom Bradford.

Grinstead suddenly had more belief and missed two gilt edged chances before half time. George Hiller-Jones somehow headed over from three yards out and then Pamment mis-kicked in front of an empty net.

They did take the lead nine minutes into the second half thanks to the prolific Sam Schaaf. He turned sharply on the edge of the box and curled a lovely shot inside the far post.

There was now only one side in it and three minutes later the lead had been extended. Pamment received the ball from a short corner routine and his shot from range bounced past Bradford at the near post.

The fourth came on the stroke of full time when John Sinclair headed home from close range after substitute John Noakes had nodded a free-kick back across goal.

Team: Fox, Zydonik, Wilson, Sinclair, Cooney, Harding (Noakes), Pamment, Hiller-Jones, Schaaf, Geard, Goodsir(White). Sub not used: James

:: Arundel 0, East Grinstead Town 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps lost ground on their rivals for a top-two finish in the County League on Saturday after a frustrating stalemate against the Mullets.

With Arundel still unable to host fixtures following winter floodling, the game was switched to Wick FC but the change of venue failed to inspire Simon Funnell's side.

This was only Wasps' second blank in the league since the end of November although they had the opportunities, particularly in the first half, to have won the game.

Kieron Pamment was one-on-one with home keeper James Fernandes within the first ten minutes but as he was about to shoot the ball took a horrible bobble and Fernandes saved. It was to sum up a frustrating day in front of goal for Simon Funnell's side.

On 22 minutes Pamment was picked out by Michael Belli's excellent pass but Fernandes made the save and 11 minutes later Marc Pelling met a corner from Matt Geard but headed narrowly over.

Arundel came more into it in the second half without threatening too much and midway through Fernandes made another good save when he saved Geard's shot and then pushed the midfielder's corner onto the bar.

Eight minutes from time top scorer Sam Schaaf was inches away from scoring when he shot on the turn after great hold-up play only for the ball to roll agonisingly wide of the post.

It rather summed up Grinstead's day and they needed Mark Fox to be at his best late on when he saw Scott Tipper's free kick late but managed to turn it around the post.

Team: Fox, Hampson (sub: Wilson 78), Harding, Sinclair, Cooney, Pelling (sub: Johnston 85), Pamment, Belli, Schaaf, Geard, Goodsir (sub: Hiller-Jones 68) Unused sub: Zydonik

:: East Grinstead Town 3, Dorking Wanderers 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Grinstead's aim for second place received a boost with a hard working victory over Dorking. This coupled with Littlehampton and Crowborough both dropping points resulted in Wasps now just being two points off second place.

The game was not as comfortable as the scoreline suggested. Dorking more than played their part in the earlier stages of the game but Grinstead remained patient and eventually made their extra class count.

Wasps started well enough but were mainly restricted to long range efforts and the closest they came was through Keiran Pamment whose strong run ended with him just shooting wide of the near post.

It was Dorking who had the first shot on target through Tom Tolfrey who found some space in the box but Mark Fox was equal to his effort.

Dorking again threatened early in the second half with Fox again having to save smartly, this time from a James Duff effort.

On the hour mark though Grinstead got thief noses in front. A beautiful delivery from a corner by Pamment was met by Sam Schaaf who headed home from virtually on the line.

Dorking still proved to be a threat and again Fox had to be at his best to deny them an equaliser when Lloyd Jeremy found some space but Fox was down sharply to deny him.

With ten minutes remaining Grinstead scored their second through Schaaf again. He picked the ball up on the edge of the box beat two men and slotted his shot inside the far post.

On the stroke of full time it was three. Another Pamment corner was this time met by Marc Pelling at the back post with a firm header.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Harding (Lilley), Sinclair, Pelling (Noakes), Pamment, Belli, Schaaf (Zydonik), Geard, Goodsir.

:: East Grinstead Town 1, Selsey 1 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps promotion aspirations took another blow on Saturday when they struggled to a draw against mid-table Selsey.

In a game of few chances and little quality Grinstead did manage to go in front with fifteen minutes but five minutes later Selsey snatched an equaliser which they probably just about deserved.

Both sides has a couple of half chances during the first period. Kieran Wilson shot just wide of the far post early on after good work from Sam Schaaf, Schaaf himself hit the side netting after a good ball from the returning George Hiller-Jones. The closest they went was on the stroke of half time when Schaaf’s miss-hit shot fell to Michael Belli but he could only stab his effort just wide of the post.

Selsey themselves failed to trouble Mark Fox in the Grinstead net. Matt Wood saw a strong run end in a decent shot that was deflected for a corner and their best chance fell to Adam Bardoulea but he could only head over from close range following a corner.

There was little improvement in the second half as either side struggled to create anything until Grinstead took the lead with their first shot on target. Grinstead has just introduced new signing Kieran Pamment and went to three at the back in an effort to claim all three points and moments later they had taken the lead. A free kick on the edge of the box was perfectly executed by Matt Geard who curled his effort round the wall and into the bottom corner leaving keeper Sam Joyce with no chance.

Having got their noses in front, Grinstead converted back to a back four but with ten minutes remaining Selsey had equalised. A free kick swung in from the right was met with a stooping header from Barney Covill which flew past Fox.

Grinstead went looking for the winner again as they increased the tempo. Aaron Watson had a good shout for a penalty and then on the stroke of full time Wilson’s corner was hacked off the line at the far post.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Wilson, Sinclair, Pelling, Zydonik (Pamment 70), Hiller-Jones(Harding74), Belli, Schaaf, Geard, Watson. Subs not used: Johnston, Castrechino

:: Lancing 2, East Grinstead Town 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps’ hopes of securing second place in the County League suffered a setback after their forwards drew a rare blank at Culver Road on Saturday.

Grinstead had their chances but came up against a resilient Lancing team who deserved their win after preventing Simon Funnell’s side from scoring for the first time since they lost to leaders East Preston at the end of November.

There wasn’t much between the teams in the early stages with Sam Schaaf forcing a solid save from Darren Ford when he turned in the box and let fly before the striker and Carlo Castrechino combined to set up an opportunity for midfielder John Sinclair, but he shot wide of Ford’s left-hand post.

Lancing had their moments too but when the deadlock was broken on 43 minutes it came in controversial circumstances when Wasps’ keeper Mark Fox appeared to hold Owen Callaghan’s shot on the line but the assistant referee ruled that the whole ball had crossed it – a decision hotly disputed by Fox and his team-mates.

Wasps continued to take the game to Lancing in the second half but the home side continued to put their bodies on the line and defend as if their lives depended on it. Scott Johnston, Michael Belli and Sinclair were all denied by last-ditch defending and when Belli did put the ball in the net it was ruled out for handball.

Grinstead were made to pay for their misses 13 minutes from time when Alex Spink, who had earlier struck the crossbar, fed Jonno Mellia who raced beyond the visitors’ defence before driving a powerful shot past Fox.

Aaron Watson was denied by another goal-line clearance when he could have pulled one back but Wasps were left to lick their wounds.

Team: Fox, Johnston, Wilson, Sinclair, Pelling, Zydonik, Castrechino, Belli, Schaaf, Geard, Watson. Subs: Goodsir, White, Hampson. Unused: Harding

:: East Grinstead Town 3, St Francis Rangers 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Grinstead maintained their promotion push with a hard fought win over St Francis Rangers.

There was still some rustiness in their performance but once Aaron Watson had opened the scoring just after the hour mark there was only going to be one winner.

Grinstead had the ideal chance to open the scoring after just five minutes when they were awarded a penalty for handball. Sam Schaaf’s penalty however was well saved by Rob Gordon and he did even better to deny Michael Belli on the follow up.

The game then became scrappy with few chances created but it was St Francis who had a great chance to take the lead after half an hour. Aaron Walsh found himself unmarked inside the Grinstead penalty area with just Mark Fox to beat but he could only hit his shot just wide of the far post.

The game was in desperate need of a spark from somewhere and it was Aaron Watson who provided it. Having just switched flanks he picked the ball up just inside the St Francis half, beat two men and hit an unstoppable shout into the far corner.

This gave Grinstead some impetus and they scored their second with ten minutes remaining. Matt Geard, who made a difference when he was introduced to the game, clipped over a half clear corner, to allow Marc Pelling to score from a header from close range.

Seven minutes later and it was three. Schaaf collected a pass with his back to goal, turned his marker and superbly executed a shot just inside the post past the stranded Gordon.

Team: Fox, Johnson (Hampson 90), Wilson, Sinclair, Pelling, Zydonik, Watson, Gellatly( Geard 60), Schaaf, Belli, Goodsir(Castrechino 62). Sub not used: Funnell

:: Shoreham 0, East Grinstead Town 2 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
In only their second game of year, Wasps overcame some understandable rustiness to keep their hopes of runners-up spot in the County League alive with a victory at Middle Road.

Manager Simon Funnell was without six players including long-term absentees Ben Chick and Guy Harding as well as Drew Cooney, George Hiller-Jones, Aaron Watson and Jon Hampson but Funnell has some good strength in depth in his squad and Wasps were too strong for the hosts, who played the last 16 minutes with ten men after Carl Dunk was sent off.

On an uneven pitch neither side could establish much of a tempo early on although it was Shoreham who went closest to scoring when a corner was hacked off the line. Grinstead immediately counter-attacked and when Sam Schaaf found Craig Goodsir he should have scored, but keeper Jordan Mitchell saved his effort and then saw Goodsir head wide from Wasps' first corner.

The deadlock was broken on 23 minutes when Dave Gellatly's cross was handled in the box and Schaaf made no mistake from the resultant penalty.

The lead was extended three minutes before the break with a well-worked goal which started when Michael Belli won the ball in midfield and picked out Schaaf. Gellatly made a good run from deep and when Schaaf's pass found him he finished well past an advancing Mitchell.

Belli hit the post on 63 minutes and Grinstead continued to create the better chances in the second half. Mitchell tipped a shot from Goodsir round the post and after Dunk had gone for a second yellow Mitchell again denied Goodsir, whose better option was probably to tee up sub Rhys White after some neat interplay between the two down the left.

Shoreham, to their credit, kept going and on another day their efforts would have earned them a point. But Wasps were just glad to be playing - and winning - again as the battle for a top-two finish intensifies.

Team: Fox, Johnston, Wilson, Sinclair, Pelling, Zydonik, Castrechino (64 Geard), Gellatly, Schaaf (64 White), Belli, Goodsir: Subs not used Lilley

:: East Grinstead Town 4, Lancing 2 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Two goals in the last 20 minutes earned Wasps a hard-fought win over a stubborn Lancing side as Simon Funnell’s men moved up to fourth in the County League table.

It was only their second game since December 28 and on a heavy pitch Wasps weren’t as fluent as they have been during a run of 11 wins from their last 14 league games.

But they still had enough in the tank to finally see off the visitors, who worked hard and were often a threat in attack before running out of steam in the closing stages.

Grinstead made three changes to the team beaten by Pagham with Sam Schaaf and Matt Geard both back while Aaron Watson was given his first start on his return to the club for a second spell after signing from Eastbourne Town.

But Lancing made the better start and went in front when Wasps failed to clear a corner on 13 minutes and Jared Rance lashed the ball in off the underside of the bar.

Both sides struggled to pass with any great accuracy but Lancing looked comfortable with their advantage until they were pegged back eight minutes before the break when George Hiller-Jones’ pass slipped Schaaf through and he steered his shot past goalkeeper Shaw.

Wasps punished more poor defending on 59 minutes to go in front. Geard launched the ball forward and Shaw and defender Spinks got in an awful mess and Hiller-Jones strolled through to plant the ball into an empty net.

The lead was short-lived as Wasps made a defensive blunder of their own. Two minutes later Mark Fox’s clearance fell straight to James Wotherspoon who made no mistake and it was 2-2.

In the closing stages both sides looked for the winner and the game got increasingly stretched. And it was Grinstead who went back in front on 71 minutes when Marc Pelling met Geard’s corner with a close-range volley which gave Shaw no chance.

Lancing committed men forward in the closing stages in search of an equaliser and that left gaps at the back which Wasps should have exploited. Watson, Schaaf and Hiller-Jones all had chances before Grinstead broke again in stoppage time when Watson put Michael Belli through and he produced a tidy finish to seal the points.

Team: M. Fox (GK), J. Hampson, K. Wilson, J. Sinclair (C), D. Cooney, M. Pelling (sub: D. Gellatly 80), A. Watson, M. Belli, S. Schaaf, M. Geard, G. Hiller-Jones. Unused subs: R. White, C. Goodsir, C. Castrechino, C. Christie (GK).

:: Pagham 3, East Grinstead Town 2 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Pagham handed Wasps only their second League defeat in 13 as they avenged their 4-1 loss on the opening day of the season and their FA Vase 2-1 exit at home.

Conditions weren't great at Nyetimber Lane, with a heavy and bobbly pitch inhibiting a Grinstead side who have built that impressive run of results on the back of some good passing displays.

But manager Simon Funnell had no complaints about the outcome, claiming his side looked off the pace despite taking the lead through new signing Ben King after 14 minutes.

King took the place of the holidaying Sam Schaaf up front after signing on dual registration from Sutton United, of the Ryman Premier.

He managed to lose his marker when George Hiller-Jones found him with a cross and although his first effort was blocked, King reacted sharply to fire the loose ball past James Binfield.

Wasps were in front for just seven minutes though. Marc Pelling mis-judged an attempted header and Scott Murfin nipped in to lob the advancing keeper Mark Fox and equalise.

Scott Johnston and King both tested Binfield and King thought he had restored Wasps' lead only to be halted by an offside flag. Then Tre Mitford was found by Hiller-Jones from a corner but blasted his shot over the bar. It was a bad miss and a costly one as Pagham took the lead two minutes before half-time when Josh Clack met a cross from the left which the visitors didn't cut out and headed smartly past Fox.

Five minutes into the second half Wasps fell 3-1 behind. Murfin got a yard on Pelling to a through ball and although Fox blocked his shot, Murfin reacted quickly to score at the second attempt.

Funnell reacted by bringing on Craig Goodsir and Rhys White and the pair made a positive impression. On 79 minutes Goodsir scored his first senior goal with a nice finish from the edge of the box after Binfield had parried an effort from the impressive King.

Grinstead pushed forward in the closing stages in search of an equaliser but Pagham held on for a win which, on the balance of play, they just about deserved.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Wilson, Sinclair, Johnson, Pelling (Goodsir), Mitford (White), Cooney, King, Belli, Hiller-Jones. Unused subs: Noakes, Lilley.

:: Horsham YMCA 1, East Grinstead Town 4 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps ended 2013 with one of their best results of the season as they came from behind to beat YM and leapfrog them into third place in the County League first division table.

YM have already beaten Wasps twice this season in cup ties and a league victory looked on the cards when Nick Sullivan raced onto a pass by Liam Hunter to give the home side the lead in the 32nd minute.

But the goal had come against the run of play. Sam Schaaf headed an early chance just over and moments before they had gone behind Tre Mitford’s superb run and pull back found Schaaf who forced a good save from YM’s Sam Smith. But six minutes after going behind Grinstead drew level.

YM’s Ashley Dugdale failed to cut out a long ball and Schaaf was in, shifting the ball onto his right foot before giving Smith no chance with his finish.

Wasps led nine minutes after the break when Schaaf produced an even better finish, volleying home a pass from John Sinclair.

Sullivan wasted a good chance to equalise against his old club when he headed over from six yards and instead Wasps made it 3-1 with 15 minutes to go.

Mitford had just gone close to his first goal when his chip went inches wide when Wasps won a corner which found its way to defender Scott Johnston, who tapped it home from close range.

And Schaaf completed his treble in the 79th minute with another good finish, this time after great work by substitute Rhys White.

East Preston may be running away with the title but Grinstead have now won nine of their last 11 league games and are on course for second place.

Team: M Fox, J Hampson, K Wilson, J Sinclair, S Johnston, G Harding, T Mitford, M Belli, S Schaaf, M Geard, G Hiller-Jones Subs Used: D Cooney, R White, C Castrechino

:: East Grinstead Town 1, Lingfield 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps haven’t had the best of things in recent local derbies so their Boxing Day success over Lingfield was one to savour.

Despite the closeness of the scoreline, it was a comfortable win for Grinstead who should have added to the goal scored in the first half by top scorer Sam Schaaf.

The visitors began brightly and Richard Wetton went close on 18 minutes with a long-range effort against the post, but Wasps went in front on 33 minutes when George Hiller-Jones picked out Schaaf with his cross from the left and the striker’s close-range finish gave Joel O’Hara no chance.

Grinstead were denied by the woodwork themselves just before the break when Schaaf burst into the box and beat O’Hara only to see his effort come back off the post.

Grinstead defended solidly in the second half to restrict Lingfield to only the occasional half-chance and Matt Geard should have sealed victory in the closing stages when Hiller-Jones’ pass left him with an open goal but he failed to hit the target.

Team: M Fox, M Belli, M Geard, J Hampson, G Harding, G Hiller-Jones, S Johnston, T Mitford, S Schaaf, J Sinclair, K Wilson. Subs used: D Cooney, C Goodsir, R White.

:: East Grinstead Town 4, Ringmer 2 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps remain upwardly mobile in the County League after claiming their eighth win in the last ten Division One games on Saturday.

They had to work hard against a Ringmer side who had claimed a cup win at the GAC Stadium a month ago before securing victory with two goals in the last 13 minutes.

The home side started well but were punished on nine minutes when Michael Belli's misplaced pass was intercepted by Louis Pople who scored at the second attempt after Mark Fox had blocked his first shot.

The home side levelled on 23 minutes when George Hiller-Jones cut in from the left before producing a deadly finish past keeper Josh Jones and inside the far post.

Jones saved instinctively from Sam Schaaf who was at full stretch as he connected with Kieran Wilson's cross and after ending the first half on top Grinstead went in front within two minutes of the re-start. Ringmer could only clear a corner as far as John Sinclair who drilled his shot past a helpless Jones from just inside the penalty area.

Ringmer, though, showed their resilience to level on 73 minutes when Ryan Storrie was allowed time to turn and shoot past Fox after getting first to a free kick swung deep into the box.

Debutant Tre Mitford came off moments later for Rhys White and the midfielder started the move which led to Wasps regaining the lead after 77 minutes. His pass found Matt Geard who fed Hiller-Jones inside the box. His cross was met on the volley by Schaaf, who made it 3-2 with his 17th goal of the season.

Belli atoned for his earlier error to seal the points in stoppage time although the goal owed much to the persistence of Schaaf, who shrugged off three challenges before teeing the ball up for Belli who gave Jones no chance with his finish.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Wilson, Sinclair, Johnston, Harding, Mitford (74 White), Belli, Schaaf, Geard, Hiller-Jones. Subs not used: Cooney, Pelling, Castrechino.

:: Hailsham Town 0, East Grinstead Town 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps came on strong in the second half at the Beaconsfield on Saturday to earn their seventh win in eight league starts to move up to fifth in the County League table.

While Grinstead have struggled against the top sides this season they have had little trouble against the strugglers, although it looked like being a tough afternoon in the first half which ended with Hailsham possibly unlucky not to be in front.

It was the hosts who created - and squandered - the best chances in the opening 45 minutes when Grinstead, already disrupted by the late withdrawal of midfielder Michael Belli on the morning of the fixture, lost Drew Cooney to injury just before the break and struggled to find any fluency in their attacking play.

But whatever boss Simon Funnell said at the interval had the desired effect. Within three minutes of the re-start Sam Schaaf pounced when home defender Tom Porter failed to clear his lines to race through and fire confidentially past keeper Sheldon Levitt.

Ten minutes later Schaaf struck again, shrugging off the challenge of two defenders just inside the box before firing into the bottom corner for his 16th goal of the season.

After that it turned into a comfortable afternoon for Grinstead, who added a third in the 77th minute when Levitt made an awful hash of trying to claim George Hiller-Jones' corner and watched it drop into the net.

Matt Geard and Dave Gellatly squandered good opportunities to put a further gloss on the scoreline in the closing stages and Geard had a penalty appeal turned down as Wasps gained a confidence-boosting win ahead of three successive home games.

Team: Christie, Wilson, Harding (64 Goodsir), Sinclair, Cooney (41 (Johnston), Pelling, White (60 Hampson), Gellatly, Schaaf, Geard, Hiller-Jones

:: East Grinstead Town 0, East Preston 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
EAST Grinstead Town suffered a 3-0 defeat on a cold grey Saturday afternoon at the GAC Stadium, at the hands of league leaders East Preston.

Despite a period of intense pressure midway through the first half, the Wasps failed to score and East Preston showed why they are undefeated in Sussex County League Division One with an impressive second half display.

Grinstead were the better side in the first half after falling behind to an Alex Duncan goal, who had got forward from his right back position to convert a cross from the right at the near post which wrong footed Callum Christie in the eleventh minute.

Grinstead’s response was good and for a twenty minute period around the half hour mark they put East Preston under intense pressure. Michael Belli was denied by a fine save from Joel Harding following a close range volley and John Sinclair was denied by a goal line headed clearance as Grinstead pushed for the equaliser. Despite a string of corners East Preston held firm and Grinstead undeservedly went in a goal behind.

The second half was a different affair as East Preston totally bossed proceedings. Grinstead changed tactics despite playing well in the first half and decided to go longer. This was a tactic that worked well against Crowborough but played into the hands of the experienced centre half partnership of Marc Pullan and Charlie Farmer and as a result Grinstead were unable to create the pressure they exerted earlier in the game.

Former Grinstead favourite Liam Baitup stung the hands of Christie just a minute into the second half, but he wasn’t to be denied just moments later. A long ball was headed into the path of Baitup, who looked suspiciously offside, but he hit a stunning volley past Christie and inside the far post.

Matt Geard then had a golden opportunity to get Grinstead back in the game, a strong run by Belli down the right found Geard just six yards out but he shot weakly which allowed the East Preston defence the opportunity to scramble the ball away.

This was to be the only clear cut chance for Grinstead in the second period as East Preston comfortably saw the game out and they notched a third when Drew Cooney handled a cross in the box and Joe Shelley dispatched the resultant penalty.

Team: Christie, Hampson (Harding 57), Wilson, Sinclair, Cooney, Pelling, Belli, Gellatly, Schaaf, Geard, Hiller-Jones. Subs not used: Goodsir, White, Johnston

:: Crowborough Athletic 2, East Grinstead Town 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Report courtesy of East Grinstead Courier & Observer

EAST Grinstead Town came back from two goals down to win a heated derby away at Crowborough Athletic.

The Wasps made a terrible start to the game, falling behind after just 75 seconds, with Crowborough debutant Jeffrey Mahadoo tapping in at the far post after some great play from Callum Ridley down the left wing.

And things became even worse five minutes later as Mahadoo grabbed a second in what was almost a carbon copy of the first goal.

The two goals lifted the spirits of the home faithful and put Grinstead firmly on the back foot, but they found their feet as the half wore on, forging a number of chances.

They were not, however, able to find a way past Nick Collick in the Crowborough goal.

That was until Jack Turner upended George Hiller-Jones inside the box just before the break.

The Crows defender was yellow carded for the offence and Matt Geard smashed home the spot kick to give the Wasps hope going into the second half.

And the visitors should have been level moments after the restart, with Sam Schaaf spurning a great chance after latching on to a long ball over the top and shooting past the advancing Collick, but wide of the goal.

Schaaf's strike partner Chris Gregson also went close when he lobbed the advancing Collick following another long ball, but Crowborough defender Alex Rich got back to clear off the line.

But the game hinged on the award of a second penalty for East Grinstead midway through the second half.

Once again, Turner was the offender as he hauled down Schaaf inside the box, and the referee Darren Eaton pointed to the spot, before showing Turner a second yellow card.

Geard despatched the spot kick to level the scores, giving Grinstead more than 20 minutes to try and make their numerical advantage count.

And that they did just seven minutes later as Geard completed his hat-trick, finishing from close range after a superb run and cross from Michael Belli.

Geard then got taken off injured following a hefty challenge, before tempers flared late on as the hosts lost their discipline.

And it was one challenge in particular that incensed the East Grinstead bench, with Wayne Clarke clattering into Hiller-Jones right in front of the dugouts.

The challenge prompted East Grinstead assistant Adam Simpson to come onto the pitch, with players and staff involved in a melee.

Once things calmed down, Clarke was shown his marching orders as Crowborough were reduced to nine men, while Simpson was sent to the stands.

But the dismissals had little bearing on the outcome, with Grisntead holding on in the closing stages for a vital 3-2 win that moves them up to fifth in the league, level on points with fourth-placed Littlehampton Town.

The result also extends the Wasps' unbeaten run to seven games, with league leaders East Preston up next for East Grinstead at home on Saturday.

Team: Christie, Hampson, Cooney, Sinclair, Pelling, Geard (White), Belli, Gellatly, Schaaf, Gregson (Johnston), Hiller-Jones. Unused subs: Wilson, Fox (gk)

:: Worthing United 0, East Grinstead Town 4 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Simon Funnell returned to the 4-5-1 formation that had served Wasps well a few weeks ago and was rewarded with a conclusive win against the County League strugglers.

Chris Gregson was dropped to the bench leaving Sam Schaaf up top and supported by midfield runners and although Grinstead scored two of their goals in the last few minutes their victory was never in doubt.

Michael Belli, Matt Geard and Schaaf had all missed good chances when Wasps took a 28th minute lead when Kieran Wilson's corner was met by Schaaf and he headed past keeper Steve Allfrey to score his 12th goal of the campaign.

The pair combined again nine minutes later when Wilson's pass found Schaaf, but his shot came back off the bar. Jon Hampson had another good opportunity at the end of a one-sided first half and there was little difference in the pattern of play after the break.

Schaaf shot wide when put through by Drew Cooney's pass, Geard's free kick hit the bar and John Sinclair saw his follow-up effort kicked off the line before Wasps finally made their pressure pay on 65 minutes when Schaaf was tripped in the box and Geard converted the penalty.

Geard converted another penalty in the last minute after Wilson had been pulled down a few moments after Wasps had scored their third goal when Schaaf headed his corner back across goal and defender Marc Pelling swept it into the net.

Team: Christie, Hampson (55 Johnston), Harding, Sinclair, Cooney (70 Gregson), Pelling, Wilson, Gellatly (66 White), Schaaf, Geard, Belli

:: Hanworth Villa 3, East Grinstead Town 1 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps bowed out of the FA Vase on Saturday but left Hanworth feeling that, with a bit of luck, they could have been in the third round.

Midfielder Michael Belli deservedly equalised midway through the second half and at that stage Simon Funnell's side looked the team likely to go on to win.

But the hosts struck twice in three minutes to go through and leave boss Simon Funnell reflecting on his side's failure to make the most of their chances - a common problem in recent games - and costly defensive slip-ups.

Grinstead's passing style was in contrast to Hanworth's more direct approach but the home side worked hard with and without the ball and were certainly more clinical when it mattered.

The first half hour was fairly even with Sam Schaaf and Chris Gregson both testing Villa keeper Terry Buss, but it was the home side, who looked for openings down Wasps' left with increasing regularity, who went in front on 33 minutes when Lee Higgs raced onto Ricky Farnden's long ball and gave keeper Callum Christie no chance with his finish.

Gregson was inches away from an immediate response when he fired inches wide after good hold-up play by Schaaf and early in the second half both Gregson and Dave Gellatly saw shots blocked.

Belli was introduced on the hour and within five minutes he had levelled the tie. His pass found George Hiller-Jones and when his shot came back off the bar, Belli was on hand to score from the rebound.

At that stage Grinstead were in control but their good work was undone on 73 minutes when Christie could only punch a corner to the edge of the box and the ball was payed back in with defender Adam Bagient heading it past the keeper to make it 2-1.

Four minutes later substitute Ross Cheetham took advantage when Kieran Wilson slipped to pull the ball back for Levi King who made no mistake for 3-1.

Gregson was denied his first Grinstead goal by a clearance off the line as Wasps pushed for a route back into the game but it was not to be.

Team: Christie, Wilson (80 Cooney), Goodsir (78 Geard), Sinclair, Pelling, Harding, White (60 Belli), Gellatly, Schaaf, Gregson, Hiller-Jones. Unused Subs: Johnston, Fox (GK)

:: East Grinstead Town 0, Horsham YMCA 1 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Grinstead bowed out of the John O'Hara cup on Tuesday night but after dominating for most of the game and missing several clear cut chances they will wonder how they didn't make it to the last eight.

Grinstead gave a debut to striker to Chris Gregson and he gave Grinstead an added dimension up front with his pace and directness and on another day he could easily have scored four.

Both sides were evenly matched early on but Grinstead slowly started taking control and should have been ahead by half time. Gregson missed a gilt edged opportunity when he somehow screwed his close range shot wide of an open net and then moments later his pace took him clear of the YMCA defence but with just keeper Sam Smith to beat he shot just wide of the far post.

With YMCA playing a very high line Grinstead continued to look to breach the offside trap using Gregson's pace and Gregson again went clear early in the second half but this time Smith made a smart save with his legs from close range.

It was a more even affair in the second half but keeper Mark Fox had very little to do and then out of the blue with 20 minutes remaining they took the lead with their only shot on target. Former Grinstead striker Nick Sullivan picked the ball up on the right corner of the penalty areas and hit a delightful left foot shot into the far corner giving Fox no chance.

Grinstead were stunned but they were soon in the ascendancy again. The YMCA goal continued to live a charmed life and it was Gregson again who went closest when again he found himself with just Smith to beat and again Smith was equal to his effort with a fine stop low down.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Goodsir, Sinclar, Pelling, Harding, White(Geard), Gellatly (Castrechino), Schaaf, Hiller-Jones(Sebuliba) Sub not used: Christie

:: East Grinstead Town 4, Shoreham 1 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
A second half brace from captain John Sinclair helped Wasps to their fourth successive league victory on Saturday.

Just like last week it was a vastly improved second half performance that ensured all three points.

Grinstead were second best throughout most of the first half and were fortunate to go in on level terms. Shoreham dominated as Grinstead struggled to have any impact on the game but thanks to a gift of a goal Grinstead found themselves ahead on 20 minutes. A regulation back pass by full-back Matt Fleming look set to be dealt with by keeper Josh Heyburn but just as he went to clear he slipped on the slippery surface and the ball trickled over the line.

Shoreham continued to dominate and the dangerous Rob O'Toole went close after Jon Buggy found him with a dangerous cross but with 37 minutes on the clock Shoreham got their deserved equaliser.

O'Toole was the creater after Grinstead were napping from a quick free kick and he crossed to Jamie Cradock who had escaped his marker and had the simple task of tapping home from close range.

The Grinstead management team earnt their corn again at half time. Once again they came out playing at a much higher tempo and took the game to Shoreham.

However on the hour mark the game turned. O'Toole got clear of the Grinstead defence but from a tight angle his shot hit the far post and Grinstead took full advantage.

Grinstead were awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty box and skipper Sinclair stepped up and fired a wicked shot just inside the post. Three minutes later Sinclair had his second of the game. A terrific move involving Sam Schaaf and Michael Belli released Sinclair inside the penalty area and he hit an unstoppable shot inside the far post.

Grinstead were now totally dominant and Shoreham rarely threatened to get back in the game and with ten minutes remaining Grinstead put the game beyond any doubt.

A Carlo Castrechino free kick from just inside his half was superbly met by Dave Gellatly who guided his header past Heyburn from just inside the box.

Team: Christie, Hampson, Goodsir, Sinclair, Pelling, Harding, White, Belli(Smoker 87), Schaaf (Burns 82), Gellatly, Wilson (Castrechino 87). Subs not used: O'Keefe, Fox

:: Horsham YMCA 5, East Grinstead Town 1 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps have had a good October with four straight wins and progress in the FA Vase but it came to an end on Tuesday when a much-changed side were knocked out of the Senior Cup by a YM side enjoying good form of their own with a sixth successive victory.

Simon Funnell had a nightmare just getting a side together after George Hiller-Jones joined Ben Chick, Scott Johnson and Drew Cooney on the injured list with an ankle problem which will keep him out for a month. John Sinclair, Michael Belli, Marc Pelling and Rhys White were also sidelined through injury, Mark Fox and Kieran Wilson were unavailable and Callum Christie pulled out in the morning because of illness which all meant 11 players were absent. Harvey James made his debut in goal.

Wasps started well and John Noakes put a header wide from an early corner while YM keeper Sam Smith did well to block a shot from Sam Schaaf.

But a makeshift side were behind on 13 minutes when Kevin Burgess scored from a corner although Craig Goodsir nearly equalised when he surged upfield and unleashed a powerful shot that skimmed the top of the bar.

But the hosts then took control with two goals in two minutes. Again Grinstead failed to deal with a corner and John Symonds pounced with an effort which took a deflection past James. And moments later it was 3-0 when Ashley Dugdale finished off a move down the right with an emphatic finish.

Wasps tried to respond. Schaaf and the recalled Ben Burns both went close and just before the break defender Guy Harding scored following a corner his first goal for the club.

By the hour mark both Grant Smoker and Dean O'Keefe had come on as Jon Hampson and Schaaf both limped off and with 20 minutes left Funnell himself had to make a rare appearance when Matt Geard had to go off.

Nick Sullivan (64) and Lee Thomas (69) added further goals to make the scoreline more emphatic but this was a night to forget for Wasps, who have the chance of revenge when they entertain YMCA on Tuesday next in the John O'Hara League Cup third round when Funnell will hope to have a few more of his regulars available.

Team: Harvey James, John Hampson (45 Grant Smoker), Craig Goodsir, Matt Geard (69 Simon Funnell), John Noakes, Guy Harding, Carlo Casttrechino, Dave Gellatly, Sam Schaaf (57 Dean O’Keefe), Ben Burns, Brendan Sebuliba

:: East Grinstead Town 2, Sevenoaks Town 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Goals from Sam Schaaf and Michael Belli saw off Sevenoaks Town to send East Grinstead Town through to the second round of the FA Vase today where they face a difficult looking challenge away to Hanworth Villa who currently lie third in the Combined Counties league.

Schaaf continued his fine goal scoring form for the Wasps, netting his 12th goal of the season when he latched on to Belli's through ball to coolly slot home in only the sixth minute.

The goal was against the run of play, as Sevenoaks dominated throughout the first half with a brand of passing football that was very easy on the eye.

It was only the end product that was missing for Sevenoaks with Edward Frost being the main culprit. He should have equalised just 3 minutes after Grinstead had taken the lead but he somehow missed the target with a header when unmarked inside the 6 yard box.

Callum Christie then denied him with a world class save from another header as Sevenoaks broke through again and the busy Christie also had to be at his best to deny the dangerous Jermeel Baptiste as Sevenoaks continued to cut open Grinstead with quick incisive football.

Somehow Grinstead managed to keep the lead at half time and thanks to some tactical changes they started to get some control in the game and looked much more threatening.

They started to push up as a unit and denied Sevenoaks the space they had in the first half and suddenly Sevenoaks were rattled and were pressured in to hitting more hopeful long balls as their passing football started to look more ragged.

Schaaf in particular was posing a constant threat to the Sevenoaks defence, looking to continue his recent hot streak that has seen him score in his last six games.

But Sevenoaks goalkeeper Charlie Mann did well to save from the in-form striker, before Craig Goodsir went close with a dipping effort.

But Mann was powerless to prevent Wasps from doubling their lead on 70 minutes as Belli and Schaaf combined with a superb one-two, before Belli rifled home from 12 yards out to make it 2-0.

Sevenoaks tried to respond but they were unable to break down a stubborn Grinstead defence as the hosts held out to seal their place in the next round of the competition.

Team: Christie, Hampson, Goodsir, Sinclair, Pelling, Harding, White(Gellalty 77), Belli(Smoker 85), Schaaf, Geard, Hiller-Jones. Subs not used: Simpson, Fox, Burns

:: East Grinstead Town 2, Arundel 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Two late second half goals was enough to ensure Grinstead’s 100% record in October with their third successive win.

Arundel were one of the poorer sides to visit East Court this season and if Grinstead had been more clinical in front of goal the score line could have been more convincing.

Grinstead started strongly, and Matt Geard nearly gave them lead inside a minute when he squirmed free of the last defender but shot just wide under pressure. Guy Harding then headed over from close range from a corner and keeper Matt Neocleous was kept busy with smart saves form both George Hiller-Jones and Sam Schaaf.

It was all Grinstead and the only surprise was that they had to wait until the 43rd minute to take the lead. Hiller-Jones cut in from the left and his shot squirmed under the body of Neocleous and inside the near post.

This sparked a flurry of activity, Arundel created their first and only real chance of the game when Rory Biggs burst clear but his left footed shot went well wide of the near post before Schaaf extended the lead on the stroke of half time. Michael Belli was the creator with a surging run, his shot from the edge was only palmed away by Neocleous to Schaaf who shot home from close range to score in his fifth successive game.

Arundel didn’t improve in the second half with dangerman Scott Tipper superbly marshalled by Marc Pelling and Harding and again it was Grinstead who created all the chances which in the main they were wasteful with.

Geard, Harding, Hiller-Jones and Schaaf all had opportunities to extend the lead and Hiller-Jones again went close with a shot from just inside his own half that clipped the top of the crossbar. Grinstead were rarely extended although Tipper had one sniff at goal but couldn’t convert from close range following a corner with ten minutes remaining.

Team: Christie, Hampson, Goodsir, Sinclair, Pelling, Harding, White(Wilson), Belli, Schaaf, Geard, Hiller-Jones. Subs not used: Gellatly, Castrechino, Sebuliba, Fox

:: Chichester City 1, East Grinstead Town 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps have erased the memory of their six-goal drubbing at the hands of Littlehampton with back-to-back away wins, as they followed up their midweek success at Rye with an equally assured success at Oaklands Park.

Sam Schaaf scored his fifth goal in three games and Michael Belli and Marc Pelling were also on target against a Chichester side who finished with ten men after Dan Hegarty picked up his second booking late in the game.

Manager Simon Funnell said: “We had 10 players missing today but the boys that have come in have done really well: Rhys White, Grant Smoker and Dean O’Keefe.

“We have got a good squad but with ten away, either injured, ill or on holiday, then we have had to rely on the reserves but the boys who have stepped up did well.

“They have all played their part and we have got the result we deserved. The boys should take a lot of credit from the win; they have dug in and got a great result and hopefully we can carry that on next Saturday at home to Arundel."

Sam Schaaf opened the scoring ten minutes into the game. Callum Christie in the Wasps goal picked out George Hiller-Jones on the left flank in the Chichester half. He put the ball through to Matt Geard who crossed to Schaaf whose deft lob found the back of the net. Chichester's appeals for offside were dismissed by referee and his assistant. Chances continued to fall for Schaaf but luckily for Chichester, the forward could not repeat his neat finish for the opener, placing subsequent efforts wide of the goal, including a great opportunity on 34 minutes set up by White’s run and cross down the right.

Wasps started the second half on the front foot and two minutes after the re-start a move started by 16 year old Craig Goodsir at left back saw Hiller-Jones play a crossfield ball to Rhys White on the right flank and his cross found Michael Belli who stretched to put the ball into the net.

Five minutes later it was 3-0. Schaaf turned provider with a terrific delivery from the line which Pelling headed firmly past keeper Anthony Ender.

Chichester did pull one back through Hegarty but thereafter Grinstead held firm defensively and as the hosts lost their discipline as frustration grew, Hegarty was dismissed for his second yellow card offence, a late challenge on Matt Geard.

“We want to continue moving up the table, not where we were after the Littlehampton defeat,” said Funnell. Two wins in four days are definitely a step in the right direction.

Team: Christie, Goodsir, Sinclair, Pelling, Belli, White (74 Smoker), Sebuliba (80 O’Keefe), Schaaf, Geard, Hiller-Jones. Unused subs: Funnell, Simpson

Photos [courtesy of East Grinstead Courier & Observer]

:: Rye United 1, East Grinstead Town 3 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Sam Schaaf scored a hat-trick in nine minutes as Wasps produced the perfect response to Saturday's six-goal mauling by Littlehampton.

Rye is not a venue where Grinstead have done well in recent years, but Simon Funnell's side produced a committed performance and fully deserved their second County League win of the season which lifted them up to 15th place ahead of Saturday's trip to Chichester.

Despite the long trip, Wasps soon worked the journey out of their legs and were on top from the start.

Both Schaaf and George Hiller-Jones had already gone close and although they lost defender Scott Johnston to injury midway through the half Wasps shook off the disruption to take the lead on 35 minutes.

Michael Belli won the ball in midfield and drove forward before finding Kieran Wilson on the right. Wilson picked out Schaaf with an excellent cross which the striker swept home.

It soon got better for Wasps. Marc Pelling won possession and his instant pass put Schaaf away and he produced another cool finish.

Seconds before the break Schaaf completed his treble. Hiller-Jones was the architect this time, finding Schaaf with the home defence in disarray and another simple finish made it 3-0.

Grinstead expected a second-half onslaught from the home side and by the end they were playing four up front. But Liam Upton's consolation didn't come until the 89th minute and before then the visitors could have stretched their advantage.

The influential Hiller-Jones twice went close, Schaaf was inches away from a fourth when he fired just wide and Wasps also had a penalty claim turned down when Hiller-Jones was brought down.

But it was an excellent night for Funnell's men who must be hoping they can build on this result at Chichester on Saturday.

Team: Christie, Hampson, Harding, Sinclair, Johnston (sub: Taylor 28), Pelling, Wilson, Belli, Schaaf, Hiller-Jones, Gellatly.

:: East Grinstead Town 1, Littlehampton Town 6 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Grinstead’s poor start to their league campaign continued with a crushing defeat to newly promoted Littlehampton.

Wasps were outplayed and more worryingly outfought, particularly in the second half when their heads dropped.

Preparations weren’t helped when Matt Geard broke down with an injury before the game but the first 15 minutes were fairly even.

Things took a turn for the worse when the unfortunate Drew Cooney went down with a serious looking ankle injury and had to be carried off and it was soon after that Littlehampton took the lead.

A free-kick swung in from the left was missed by Cooney’s replacement Marc Pelling and Julian Curnow headed powerfully home from close range.

Grinstead were now on the back foot and Littlehampton went searching for a second. Five minutes before half time it came. A cross from Laim Humphreys on the right fell to the prolific George Gaskin who headed home unmarked from inside the six-yard box.

Grinstead needed to respond early in the second half and thanks to a Sam Schaaf wonder goal they got themselves back in the game. A long clearance from goalkeeper Callum Christie fell to Schaaf on the right edge of the penalty area, he shrugged aside the challenge from his marker and hit a great volley that flew into the top corner.

The home faithful thought it was game on but just four minutes later Littlehampton had regained their two goal lead. A mistake from Scott Johnston allowed David Gaskin a run on goal and from an acute angle he slotted past Callum Christie.

It was at this point Wasps capitulated and Littlehampton started to run riot. Jon Hampson needlessly fouled Mitchell Hand in the penalty area and Hand slotted home the resultant penalty and then man of the match Jamie Thompson took over.

He waltzed through the nonexistent home defence to notch his first and Littlehampton’s fifth and then on the stroke of full time he struck a wicked volley that flew past the static Christie to round off a comprehensive victory for the visitors.

Team: Christie, Hampson (sub: Sebuliba), Harding, Sinclair, Cooney (Pelling), Johnston, Wilson, Belli, Schaaf, Taylor (White), Hiller-Jones

:: Pagham 1, East Grinstead Town 2 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps are through to the first round proper of the FA Carlsberg Vase for the first time since 2009 after a deserved win over their County League rivals.

Grinstead produced the perfect response after a disappointing performance in their previous outing at Dorking Wanderers five days earlier to add to their opening-day league win over the Lions.

Another boost for boss Simon Funnell was the return to goalscoring form of last season's top scorer Sam Schaaf, whose double strike suggested his predatory instincts are at their sharpest again after what has been, by his high standards, a subdued start to the campaign.

Schaaf scored a cracking goal to open the deadlock after seven minutes. Receiving a pass from Kieran Wilson on the edge of the box with his back to goal, he shielded the ball from two defenders before curling a deft shot past James Binfield in the Lions' goal.

Pagham levelled midway through the first half somewhat against the run of play when Josh Biggs' free kick from wide on the left somehow crept over keeper Callum Christie and under the bar.

It was a blow to the visitors, who had been in control until then, but before half-time they should have retaken the lead. George Hiller-Jones shot just wide after a great run, Wilson's free kick just missed the target and Binfield kept out Scott Johnston's header.

But it took Wasps just two minutes of the second half to go back in front. Jon Hampson header from Wilson's free kick was parried by Binfield and Schaaf blasted home his second goal from close range.

Grinstead remained on the front foot as they searched for a third. Binfield denied Schaaf, Hiller-Jones and Ben Burns while Pagham's threat, which mostly came from set pieces, was dealt with by the visitors' defence.

The only blemish for Wasps was an injury to Matt Geard, who took a heavy knock and had to be replaced. The referee added on 15 minutes of stoppage time but Grinstead held out and will now entertain Sevenoaks Town on October 19 in the last 64 of the Vase.

Team: Christie, Hampson, Harding, Sinclair, Cooney, Johnston, Wilson (sub: White 83'), Belli, Schaaf (Burns 68'), Hiller-Jones, Geard (Taylor 86)

:: Dorking Wanderers 2, East Grinstead Town 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Simon Funnell vowed to shake things up after Wasps slumped to a disappointing defeat to new County League leaders Dorking Wanderers on Tuesday night.

Not even the appearance as a second-half sub of much-travelled striker Chamel Fenelon could provide the spark which was badly missing despite the fact that Wasps enjoyed plenty of possession throughout the 90 minutes.

Manager Funnell said: "It was our worst performance of the season and I have told the players there will be changes (at Pagham in the FA Vase) on Saturday. I can't make 11 changes but I can make five."

Dave Gellatly spurned a couple of opportunities for the Wasps in a first half that they largely dominated, although Wanderers carved out a few opportunities of their own just after the half hour mark.

Firstly, Mark Bevan was denied by Mark Fox, before Peter Rapson also saw his shot saved by the Wasps keeper moments later. But Fox was helpless when Mark Harmsworth ignored offside appeals seven minutes before the break to latch onto Rapson's through ball and curl his shot past the keeper.

The second half followed a familiar pattern with Wasps dominating possession but struggling to make headway against a rugged home defence. Fenelon and Michael Belli came off the bench to try and liven things up and he should have equalised when Fenelon's pass released Matt Geard whose cross into the box was fired over the target by Belli.

Sam Schaaf headed just wide then the home keeper could only punch Fenelon's powerful free kick back to Belli but he headed over.

It wasn't Wasps night, a point emphasised in the closing stages when sub Craig Goodsir lost possession and Thomas Nykaro scored at the second attempt after his first effort had been blocked.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Harding, Johnston, Cooney (63mins Goodsir), Sinclair, Westcott (77 mins Belli), Gellatly (Fenelon 68 mins), Schaaf, Geard, Hiller-Jones. Unused subs Lilley, Taylor

:: St Francis Rangers 1, East Grinstead Town 1 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
A Matt Geard penalty ensured Grinstead a share of the points in a hard-fought encounter at St Francis.

Grinstead got off to the worst possible start when they found themselves behind after only three minutes. Charlie Pitcher picked the ball up mid-way inside Grinstead’s half, evaded a couple of challenges and shot just inside the post with Mark Fox rooted to the spot.

That was about it for entertainment until the main talking point of the game in the 24th minute. A long ball over the top was pursued by George- Hiller Jones. He was hauled down by Josh Bryant in the St Francis defence and Grinstead were awarded a penalty despite the numerous prostrations coming from the St Francis side. As Bryant was the last man a red card should have been brandished but he was only shown a yellow. Geard comfortably tucked away the resulting penalty.

The game was by no means a classic on a difficult pitch and numerous stoppages for treatment and free-kicks didn’t help but it was a game Grinstead should have gone on to win.

For the first half hour of the second half Grinstead were well on top and should have made their domination count. However despite their dominance, they still struggled to carve out many clear cut chances. When they did create chances most of them resulted in routine saves for keeper Rob Gordon.

Their best opportunity came when San Schaaf beat the offside trap, Gordon denied him when he tried to round him, but from the resulting pull back Hiller–Jones' shot from close range was somehow bundled off the line.

They continued to probe for the opening with John Sinclair having a great game in the middle of the park and with five minutes remaining had the chance to go home with all three points that their second half performance deserved. A one-two on the edge of the box fell to Dave Gellatly but he shot weakly at Gordon when well placed inside the penalty area.

Team: Fox, Wilson(Johnston), Goodsir, Sinclair, Taylor, Cooney, Wescott(White), Gellatly, Schaaf, Geard, Hiller-Jones. Subs not used. Major, Subuliba, Lilley

:: East Grinstead Town 2, Hassocks 1 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
A Matt Geard penalty helped East Grinstead Town to a 2-1 success against Hassocks in the John O'Hara League Cup.

Geard's second half spot kick ultimately proved the difference between the sides at the GAC Stadium after Jamie Hillwood had earlier cancelled out Sam Schaaf's opener for the hosts in the first half.

Grinstead started by far the better of the two sides and took the lead in the sixth minute when Sam Schaaf looped a header past Alex Harris after Hassocks failed to deal with a corner from George Hiller-Jones.

It could have been worse for the visitors, but for a superb save from Harris to tip Reece White's dipping strike onto the bar as the Wasps set the early tempo.

Indeed, it took until midway through the first half for Hassocks to register an effort on the Grinstead goal, but when it came, it was worth the wait.

Charging down the left hand side, the ball broke for Jamie Hillwood, who lashed a fizzing first time strike from the edge of the area that caught the Wasps goalkeeper Mark Fox completely by surprise as it flashed past him.

The goal had come completely out of the blue and against the run of play, but Grinstead continued to press forward and were unfortunate not to regain the lead before the break, with Geard going close.

But Grinstead did not have long to wait to regain the lead in the second half, with Geard smashing the ball home from the penalty spot on 51 minutes after Schaaf was hauled down inside the box.

Things went from bad to worse for Hassocks seven minutes later as midfielder Mark Price was sent off after being shown a second yellow card for a poor challenge on Geard.

Strangely though, the dismissal did not help the hosts as the tempo went out of the game, with the ten-man visitors actually looking the more likely as they pushed Grinstead back in the latter stages.

However, Hassocks failed to create any clear cut chances as the Wasps held on to inflict a first defeat of the season on the visitors and set up a third round tie with Horsham YMCA.

Team: Fox, White(Wilson) Harding, Sinclair, Taylor, Cooney(Noakes), Castrechino, Gellatly, Schaaf, Geard, Hiller-Jones(Lilley). Sub not used: Major

:: East Grinstead Town 2, AFC Uckfield 1 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Two goals in the last eleven minutes of normal time spared Wasps' blushes as they came from behind to beat a spirited AFC Uckfield side at the GAC Stadium in an FA Carlsberg Vase First Qualifying Round tie.

Fantastic goalkeeping from Andy Albon in the Oaks’ goal kept it goalless at the break, before Callum Legate gave the visitors the lead eight minutes into the second half. It looked like the Division Two side would hang on, but Scott Johnston got on the end of a ball into the area to level things up before Matt Geard’s strike from twelve yards put East Grinstead through to face Pagham in the next round.

Albon produced his first of many first half saves just three minute in, as Geard won the ball from an Uckfield throw-in before beating Carl Kenward on the right, but his low drive was turned around the near post by the diving keeper.

George Hiller-Jones then lifted the ball over the bar before Uckfield had their first effort of the game inside the opening ten minutes. Steve Stracey’s through ball played in Sammy Bunn, who got to the ball before Mark Fox, only to poke it narrowly wide of the near corner.

Albon then came out well to deny Sam Schaaf before making an even better save. Dave Gellatly burst down the left before finding Hiller-Jones, and from point-blank range the former Oaks player saw his effort brilliantly saved by Albon, who then kept out Schaaf again moments later, to even draw applause from the Wasps’ bench.

Fox was then happy to watch Howard Davey’s free-kick from 25 yards curl narrowly over the bar, before the ever-impressing Albon came to Uckfield’s rescue again before the break. Lewis Taylor broke through the visitors’ defence after a neat one-two, and took the ball away from the advancing Albon, only for the scrambling keeper to keep the ball out with his legs.

The visitors came out battling at the start of the second half, as Aaron Capon forced Fox to turn the ball wide at the near post before he drove narrowly wide minutes later.

AFC then broke the deadlock after 53 minutes when Legate latched onto a ball over the top of the Wasps’ defence, and held off Marc Pelling before lifting the ball over the advancing Fox and into the net to give the visitors a belief that they could cause an upset.

Instead of holding on, Uckfield continued to press and Jacob Adlam came close to doubling the lead after the hour after Stracey’s ball forward fell to the striker, but his volley looped just past the post.

It appeared luck was with the visitors, as Town were kept out once again as John Sinclair played a well-weighted through ball to Hiller-Jones, who one on one with Albon, shifted the ball across to Schaaf, but Damon Pollard got across to volley the ball clear on the line of the unguarded net.

Hiller-Jones then blazed wildly over the bar from eight yards, before the hosts did eventually break a stubborn Uckfield defence after 79 minutes. Kieran Wilson lofted the ball into the area from a free-kick out on the left, and Albon made his first mistake of the match in miss-judging it and substitute Johnston was left unmarked at the far post to cushion his volley in from a tight angle.

With the tie heading to extra-time, Uckfield’s hearts were broken five minutes from time when sub Carlo Castrechino played the ball back to Geard on the edge of the area, and the former Whitehawk star evaded the lunge of James Lyell before slamming the ball past the diving Albon and into the net.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Wilson, Sinclair, Pelling (Johnston 50), Taylor, Hiller-Jones, Gellatly (Castrechino 82), Schaaf, Geard, Belli (Burns 68). Not Used: Harding, Goodsir.

Stats: (East Grinstead-AFC Uckfield)
Shots: 12-8; Shots On Target: 7-3; Corners: 6-4; Fouls Committed: 7-13; Offside: 13-2.

Report & stats by Anthony Scott

:: Seaford Town 1, East Grinstead Town 2 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
The mercurial Ben Burns earned Wasps a safe passage into the third round of the RUR Cup.

The striker came off the bench to score his first goal since last September in the first minute of stoppage time, finally lashing the ball home from close range after the Seaford six-yard box had resembled a pinball machine for a few moments.

Grinstead just about deserved to win but bearing in mind Seaford are struggling in Division Two it perhaps should have been a more comfortable afternoon for Simon Funnell and his side.

Funnell had warned the players what to expect, especially those who hadn't played at The Crouch before with its pronounced slope. The pitch is rock-hard in the depths of winter so it was no surprise to find it bobbly and difficult to play the type of passing football Funnell encourages.

And any idea that it would be a comfortable afternoon for Wasps were over within two minutes when Joey Pout's free kick from 25 yards eluded everyone in a crowded box including Mark Fox, although it took a deflection on its way past the keeper.

Wasps equalised on 26 minutes. Matt Geard's through ball found George Hiller-Jones and the midfielder, back at Grinstead after a short spell with Eastbourne Town, showed good control and neat skill to guide it home via the inside of the post.

Seaford's Dan McDonnell was the busier keeper thereafter, although he didn't have to deal with concerted Grinstead pressure. Sam Schaaf twice went close and McDonell produced an excellent save to deny Hiller-Jones at the start of the second half. Funnell brought on three subs to liven things up and Wasps occasionally showed glimpses of what they are capable of but it wasn't much of a spectacle for the neutral and there was probably relief all-round when Burns showed his predatory instincts are still sharp to save everyone from an extra half hour.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Goodsir, Geard, Taylor, Pelling (65 mins Johnston), Castrechino (84 mins Burns), Gellatly (68 mins Belli), Schaaf, Hiller-Jones, Wilson Sub not used: Major

:: East Grinstead Town 0, Horsham YMCA 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
A depleted East Grinstead Town were held to a goalless draw by ten-man Horsham YMCA on Bank Holiday Monday, with the hosts unable to make their man advantage for much of the second half count.

In a game where scoring opportunities were few and far between, the visitors were reduced to ten men moments into the second period when Craig Grantham was dismissed for a second bookable offence. Wasps still found chances hard to come by, with John Sinclair hitting both posts with just minutes left as the visitors retained their unbeaten record.

Both sides struggled to keep possession for long periods of time throughout the game, but the visitors came close early on after Dave Gellatly gave away a free-kick on the edge of his own area, but Dan Sullivan could only lift the ball narrowly over the bar.

Dan Evans’ cross from the left was then spilt by keeper Mark Fox at the near post, but Grantham could only bundle the ball wide from close range.

The Wasps’ first effort on goal came prior to the half hour mark, as Carlo Castrechino’s cross from the right picked out Brendan Sebuliba at the far post, but his looping header went just wide of the near post.

Evans then spurred the best chance of the first half, when Dave Brown’s ball down the left played through the full-back, but he rushed his effort and his first time attempt flew well over the bar. Brown then came close himself, but his effort with the outside of his foot curled just wide of the far corner from the edge of the area.

Then within a minute of the second half starting, Grantham saw red by referee Craig Cox as he followed his first half booking with a late tackle that certainly left the referee no option but to send him on his way.

The hosts then pressed on in an attempt to break the deadlock, with Brendan Sebuliba sending a good ball into the area for Sam Schaaf, but his glancing header went past the far post.

Sinclair then played the ball out to Sebuliba on the left, and the winger evaded a challenge as he cut inside, and his effort bounced in front of keeper Sam Smith, which was pushed over the bar awkwardly by the keeper.

The 10-men of Horsham then almost took the lead inside the last ten minutes, as Martin Smith played the ball through to Lee Wood, but the substitute could only fire the ball low into the side netting from a tight angle.

The hosts continued to push for that elusive goal, but were left frustrated with a disappointing final ball on many occasions, but in the final minute of normal time Schaaf steered the ball across to Sinclair, whose first time strike at the near post beat Sam Smith, only to cannon off the near post and then ricochet off the other, only for the ball to drop wide of the goal.

Team: Fox; Wilson, Noakes, Taylor, Goodsir; Gellatly, Sinclair; Castrechino (Lilley 61), Geard, Sebuliba; Schaaf. Un-used subs: Smoker, Simpson, Funnell.

Report by Anthony Scott

:: Holmesdale 1, East Grinstead Town 0 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Wasps made a disappointing return to the FA Cup after a three-year absence when an early goal condemned them to an early exit at Kent League Holmesdale.

Manager Simon Funnell named the same side for the third game in a row but Grinstead failed to settle and were behind after six minutes. Tyrone Pink failed to clear on the edge of his own box and Tyrone Guthrie’s drive took a slight deflection on its way past Mark Fox.

It was a big blow but Grinstead should have been level by the break. They were soon creating chances but their approach work wasn’t matched by the final product. Pink fired wide of the post after he was set up by Sam Schaaf and Schaaf was involved again on 32 minutes, linking up with Matt Geard who pulled the ball into the path of Kieran Wilson but he took was off target with his shot.

Schaaf headed just over from Wilson’s corner and then John Sinclair met Geard’s free kick with a thumping header but again failed to get it on target.

The second half was more evenly contested but Wasps had their chances to equalise, notably on 68 minutes when Michael Belli fired straight at keeper Alex Hyde after Holmesdale failed to clear their lines.

By then Wasps had four strikers on the pitch and Fox was coming up for set pieces but the home side held on with a reasonable degree of comfort to their lead.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Harding (sub: Major), Sinclair, Cooney, Pelling, Pink (sub: Goodsir), Geard, Schaaf, Belli, Wilson. Subs not used: Johnston, Lilley.

:: Hassocks 2, East Grinstead Town 2 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
After both sides won on the opening day, Hassocks and East Grinstead Town played out a draw at The Beacon after the hosts came back from 2-0 down at the break.

Marc Pelling found the net twice, both from set-pieces, to put Wasps in a commanding position as they looked to get back-to-back wins after Saturday’s win against Pagham.

However, Hassocks responded well second half, with Phillip Johnson pulling a goal back on 72 minutes before he volleyed home an equaliser with one minute left to share the spoils.

After a slow start, the visitors started to show signs of their force going forward after ten minutes when Matt Geard found Kieran Wilson out on the left, who beat Rob South only for his strike to be beaten away by Alex Harris from the edge of the area.

Hassocks always looked a threat going forward, and came within inches of breaking the deadlock when Jamie Ingham’s long throw wasn't totally cleared and the loose ball fell to Jamie Hillwood, but from twelve yards out he could only rattle the upright.

However, it was the visitors who took the lead from their second corner of the match as Geard whipped the ball in from the right and picked out Pelling, who under pressure from close range, steered the ball past the motionless keeper and into the net.

The Robins then looked for an instant response, with keeper Mark Fox coming to Grinstead’s rescue when Ashley Marsh’s cross was deflected into the path of Nathan Miles, whose first time effort from twelve yards brought out an outstanding diving save from the scrambling keeper.

It proved to be from another corner that the Wasps doubled their lead, eight minutes before the break. Wilson provided the ball in which picked out the run of Pelling, who got in front of his marker and poked the ball beyond the standing Harris and into the bottom corner.

Hassocks came out at the start of the second half and looked the brighter side, with Anthony Hibbert, scorer of both goals in Saturday’s win against Littlehampton, testing Fox, but the visitors then came close to grabbing a third goal on the hour.

Tyrone Pink laid the ball off to Jon Hampson on the right, and his cross-come-shot had to be tipped against the bar by the stretching Harris to prevent his side falling further behind.

Geard then tested Harris, taking the ball past a defender on the edge of the area before his low drive heading towards the bottom corner was turned behind by the diving keeper.

Then 18 minutes from time the game turned on its head as the hosts brought themselves right back into the game. Johnson linked up well with substitute Tom Davess who laid the ball through to the striker, and one on one with Fox, steered the ball away from the advancing keeper and into the far corner.

Hibbert then came close to heading his side level, but failed to connect properly with Chris Maynard’s free-kick to allow Fox to gather, before Pellling turned from goal scorer to goal saver as he cleared the ball off the line as a corner from the right was turned goal wards.

Then with 89 minutes on the clock, a Hassocks corner was driven in low into the area, and after Drew Cooney saw his appeals of a high foot against him waved away as he tried to head clear, the ball fell into the path of Johnson, whose powerful volley kept low, beating Fox to find the bottom corner.

Team: Fox; Hampson, Cooney, Pelling, Harding; Belli, Sinclair; Pink (Goodsir 67), Geard, Wilson; Schaaf. Un-used: Burns, Major, Lilley, Johnston

Report by Anthony Scott

:: East Grinstead Town 4, Pagham 1 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Grinstead's season got off to the perfect start with a convincing victory over much fancied Pagham.

The Wasps have struggled to pick up points in the last couple of seasons against sides that have finished above them and with Pagham expected to go well this season this was a good early test of Grinstead's credentials.

It was an entertaining game from the off. Michael Belli was the first to test James Binfield in the Pagham goal with a stinging volley from the edge of the box that the Pagham stopper did well to keep out.

Pagham had prolific scorers Scott Murfin and Howard Neighbour in their side and Mark Fox had to be alert to keep out Murfin's effort from a tight angle.

Grinstead struck first on 16 minutes. A Matt Geard corner was met by a thumping header by skipper John Sinclair at the near post that flew past Binfield.

Pagham responded well but they were very lucky in how they got their equaliser. Sinclair's attempted clearance on the edge of the box cannoned off the shins of Ryan Fox and flew into the bottom corner.

The game was now evenly poised and both sides probed for an opening and it was new signing Tyrone Pink who went closest but he was unable to apply the finish at the back post following a fine Belli cross.

Belli was instrumental in Grinstead regaining the lead just 3 minutes into the second half. He superbly won three challenges in the middle of the park and then released Kieran Wilson in space down the left. Wilson's deflected cross fell to Pink at the back post who shot into the roof of the net.

Grinstead were now on top and went looking for the third. Wilson had just gone close when his cross was deflected onto the bar before Sam Schaaf extended the lead. Geard won possession and released Pink. Pink showed great awareness to find Schaaf who had the simple task of slotting home from close range.

Pagham responded well however and Grinstead were thankful to Fox for keeping their two goal cushion. He denied James Fox with a superb reaction save from a close range header and then got down well to deny Neighbour who hit a sweet volley from close range. Murfin should then have made more of an opportunity after latching onto a long ball but shot weakly wide of the far post.

Grinstead survived however and put the gloss on an impressive victory with twelve minutes remaining. It was from another corner, this time delivered by Wilson to Pelling at the back post and Schaaf forced the ball home.

Team: Fox, Hampson, Harding, Sinclair, Cooney, Pelling, Pink (Goodsir 78), Belli, Schaaf(Burns 85), Geard, Wilson (Major 84) Sub not used: Lilley

Rydon Man of Match: Michael Belli

Photos courtesy of East Grinstead Courier & Observer

:: East Grinstead Town 0, Crystal Palace 6 :: back to top Go to the top of the page
Crystal Palace's youngsters showed their class in an entertaining pre-season friendly at the GAC Stadium on Friday night.
A crowd of around 450 watched Simon Funnell's County League side equip themselves well although entertaining the Premier League new boys’ development side was always going to be a tough test.
The Eagles’ sharpness and quality shone through as the visitors scored six goals without reply, including four in the first 33 minutes of the game.
It took just 70 seconds for Palace to strike as Kwesi Appiah nodded in a right wing cross to give them a great start, although it should have been two moments later when Appiah looked for a square ball when through on goal.
The Eagles did not have to wait long for a second goal though, with Jake Gray latching on to a through ball to round Wasps goalkeeper Mark Fox and slot the ball into an empty net to make it 2-0 after just seven minutes.
Grinstead’s top scorer from last season, Sam Schaaf, had his first sight of goal a couple of minutes later, but he scuffed his shot wide.
Unfortunately for the hosts, that was about as good as it got early onwith trialist Jake Nicholson and Appiah again going close to a third goal, before Brice Iriebi tried an audacious lob from all of 35 yards that drifted wide of Fox’s goal.
A third goal was again not long in coming though, with a lovely move down the right leading to Ali Gordon swinging in a sweet delivery for Appiah to volley home across Fox for his second of the game.
In truth, he should have had a hat-trick moments later, but Fox was out quick from his line to deny the former Margate striker.
However, Palace were not to be denied as Iriebi played in Ismael H’Maidat down the left wing and the tricky winger cut inside past John Noakes before curling in an exquisite effort past Fox to make it four after just 33 minutes.
Appiah and Gray again went close as the clock counted down towards half time, but neither were able to find the target as the score remained 4-0 at the break.
Wholesale changes were made by the Eagles at half time, with eight new players taking to the pitch, while Grinstead brought on 16-year-old Craig Goodsir at left back.
The changes stunted the flow of the game somewhat as both sides adjusted to the changes, although Appiah should have added a fifth for Palace when he struck the post following good work down the right by Derek Tiehu.
The striker was guilty of missing another good chance when he worked himself space in the box and shot straight at Fox, while Marcel Henry-Francis blazed wide after being played in on goal as the Eagles failed to make the most of their possession.
Another round of substitutions, this time by the hosts, saw Grinstead gain a foothold in the game with some fresh legs, and although they struggled to create clear-cut chances they managed to keep Palace at bay for 30 minutes of the second period.
Then a moment of magic from former Tottenham Hotspur man Nicholson lit up the game as he blasted in a stunning strike from outside the box on 76 minutes, with Fox helpless to prevent his net from bulging as he watched the screamer flash past him.
Tcheeb Oloyede could have notched a consolation for the Wasps at the other end moments later, but he hesitated when through on goal, allowing the Palace defence to get back and make a block to deny the substitute the goal his side’s second half display merited.
And with time running out, Palace added a sixth to round off a convincing display, with Henry-Francis slotting the ball low past Fox after being put through on goal in the final minute of normal time.

Grinstead: Fox, Noakes, Mustafa (Goodsir), Sinclair (Burns), Pelling (Mpalampa), Thomsett (Karma), Wilson, Abbott, Schaaf (Oloyede), Cooney, Geard (Fletcher).
Palace (First half): Fitzsimons, Gordon, Berkely-Agyepong, Sow, Inniss, Chambers, Gray, Appiah, Iriebi, H’Maidat.
(Second half): Gregory, Gordon, Kinda-John, Taylor, Croll, Harriott, Dymond, Henry-Francis, Tiehu, Uduwaga, Appiah (Nicholson).

Report courtesy of East Grinstead Courier & Observer

Reactions to Crystal Palace friendly

Watch video of Simon Funnell's reaction to Friday night's friendly against Crystal Palace courtesy of East Grinstead Courier & Observer.
Video reaction from Gary Issott, Crystal Palace Academy Director courtesy of Croydon Advertiser
Video interview with John Sinclair, courtesy of East Grinstead Courier & Observer.
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