Wickers woe on opening day

Saturday football for the first time since I can’t remember when! I’m not just talking lockdown procedures but beyond that, but with personal life changes I’ve now got the opportunity to go whenever and wherever I please.

The beginning of a league season, nine months or so of arduous hard work with promotion the end goal. For most and myself much included, this season takes on a different role. It reminds us of what we couldn’t have for months since March this year, a re-evaluation if you like and a determination to not take for granted a lot a things close to us that we love and enjoy.

Needing to stay local with work beckoning in the evening, I chose to visit Wick FC in the Southern Combination League Division One, a club I spent time at until December last year. A mix of roles as Social Media Manager, Treasurer and Secretary took up a lot of time and now these days I wonder how I fitted it all in.

It’s been a summer of change at Crabtree Park, new managers in Tom Simmonds and the returning Lee Baldwin, new badge, new players, returning players and a brand new metal fencing around the pitch perimeter but the same objective as last season’s null and void effort, promotion.

With four spots up for grabs once again Wickers are keen to progress and return to Premier Division football but face stiff competition to get there. Littlehampton, Mile Oak, AFC Varndeanians, Seaford, and Arundel amongst a few could stand in their way along with Saturday’s visitors Bexhill Utd. The two clubs were siting 4th and 5th before the season came to an end with Wick seven points in front having played the same amount of games.

Both sides were looking to get their season off to a winning start having not been in FA Cup action midweek. Wickers certainly started the stronger of the two sides, wingers George Cody and Alex Kew both finding lots of space to whip balls into the front two of Scott Murfin and Dan Simmonds although neither striker could find the target.

With Wick unable to take advantage the visitors got more of a foothold in the game and took the lead on 32 mins when Evan Archibald capitalised on some hesitant defending to fire past Wickers keeper Jordan Matthews. From that point on Bexhill controlled the game and Archibald notched his and Bexhill’s second just before half time.

Despite holding a 2-0 lead, the visitors continued to press throughout the second half, and it was no surprise when the impressive Jack Mclean rounded Matthews just after the hour mark to seal the points for the visitors. Wickers did have a goal disallowed minutes before Mclean’s strike, but the Pirates took full advantage to take the win back to East Sussex.

Impressive performance from Bexhill who harried and pressed more once they were a goal in front, Mclean and Curran on the opposite wing gave the full backs no peace all afternoon and the busy Archibald made sure the centre halves had no easy rides for 90 minutes.

For Wick a disappointing afternoon, but the memory goes back to the beginning of last season when Mile Oak came away from Crabtree Park with all three points, but things then went right for Terry Dodd, will the same apply for Simmonds and Baldwin? An early chance for redemption comes on Tuesday when they head to Billingshurst whilst Bexhill are without a midweek game, watching football in the sun is a great reminder of what we have missed in months gone by, floodlit football is even better………..

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