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Tuesday 8th January 2019 ko 19.45

Southern Combination Division One


SELSEY 2 (Coates 55 Miller 77) Jefkins sent off 38 (2nd booking)

Att 35

Entry £5

Programme £1

I’m not sure how I managed to miss this place. 35 years ago I regularly used to visit my aunt in Hove (actually) and since she owned a beach hut in Shoreham we regularly took the train from Hove and given that the line runs behind Old Barn Way, I must have passed here many many times. Somehow I managed to contrive to miss Southwick’s home, but I can assure you, that wouldn’t happen on a train now!

I wasn’t sure what to expect here; you may remember that in September I watched Southwick take a real hiding at Seaford Town in the RUR cup, but then this is a club that played Isthmian League football from 1985 to 1991. Inevitably there I found influences from the past and the present.

You can see where the old wooden stand used to be, and the clubhouse and kitchen are set up to cope with a far larger crowd then the 35 souls they attracted here. But from the gateman with his restorative pint of Fosters, to the lady in the kitchen happy to share a joke in the cold these are the reasons why I’m happy to battle Britain’s motorways to spend 2 hours somewhere.

Sadly the precarious nature of life at Step 6 was also there for all to see. The frantic painting of a touchline to avoid a league fine, or the programme forced to admit that they’ve lost each of their 5 league games.

And, sad to say, they didn’t look like winning this one either. It was at times a tough game to watch, ill-tempered at times, on a bumpy pitch. As much as it pains me to say it, the refereeing didn’t help, and the dismissal of Selsey’s Tom Jefkins didn’t help.

He collected an early booking for dissent, but soon after gave away a foul near the touchline. Now what I saw was him pass the ball back to the opposition by kicking gently against the pitchside boards. That was seen by the referee as kicking the ball away and so a second yellow card was issued. Now I may be wrong, but surely there was room for doubt?

Perhaps the telling point though is that I don’t think it altered the result one iota, I suspect it just took Selsey longer to force their will on the game. In the end 2-0 was about right, and as I write Southwick are second from bottom, deep in relegation trouble, with the added peril of relegation to the bottom division of the SCFL seeing the loss of senior status.

And yet there’s something endearing about Southwick. Perhaps it’s the hotch-potch nature of the ground, give me this over those horrible “Arena ” stands every time, but there’s always something to admire about a club battling on despite the odds. All the best to them.