Taylor rescues late point for Arundel

Having gone for distance on Saturday with a trip to Dover, it was time to stay local on Tuesday night despite the lure of one or two games which would have meant a late drive home.

A local derby between Wick and Arundel in the Southern Combination Division One was my destination with Gareth Spinks and Steve Watson. Both sides I’d already seen in action this season, Arundel on the opening day back in July and Wick at Mile Oak on a rare Friday night outing.

Whilst this season is a re-building project under new Mullets boss Jason Mines, Wick under Lee Baldwin are expecting to challenge for promotion to the Premier Division, both sides however occupying places below mid-table the visitors arrived at Crabtree Park in better form than the hosts.

But it was Wick who got off to the perfect start on a pitch that saw a few struggles with the length of the grass, Conor Bull sliding the perfect ball into the path of David Crouch and the striker made no mistake with the finish, Wick in front after just three minutes.

Despite going behind the goal didn’t seem to shake the Mullets and they set about playing with the ball on the floor, probing and trying to draw the Wick backline into making a mistake.

A majority of the good work coming from the visitors went through Monroe Hector in the middle of the park, Wick finding him quite elusive to mark throughout the first half but the Mullets not quite finding the way through to test home keeper Keelan Belcher.

The visitors did find an equaliser seven minutes before half time however, a free kick swung in from the right hand side saw a Mullets effort pushed out by Belcher to the feet of Kenzie Oatway who made no mistake from a few yards out.

Just as we seemed set for a 1-1 scoreline at half time, Wick took the lead again one minute before the break, a deflected shot from Bull wrong-footed Mullets keeper Jack Hickman and nestled in the back of the net.

Arundel continued to keep the ball down in the second half and tried to pass it through Wick whilst the hosts were fairly equal and content to play on the counter to nick a third goal.

Neither keeper had very many efforts to save and at times a few tasty tackles were going in, the hall marks of a feisty local derby with referee Mark Spence just about keeping a lid on things and twenty-two players still on the park.

With one or two tackles going in leading to free kicks, it was no surprise that this led to the second equaliser for the Mullets, a free kick whipped in from the left this time with Belcher unsure whether to come and claim it or not, Ben Taylor headed home with five minutes left on the clock.

Neither side were able to find a winner in the time left and the bragging rights were shared, in all fairness the right result as neither side did quite enough to win the game.

Both sides remain in the bottom half and with a surprise 2-1 win for Storrington at promotion chasing Roffey the sides below are beginning to catch up.

Wick head to league leaders Midhurst on Saturday whilst Arundel will hope to extend their unbeaten run to seven games as they host Forest Row at Mill Road.

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