By Anthony Scott
The Southern Combination League’s involvement in the Buildbase FA Vase has come to an end for another season after both remaining sides bowed out at the Fourth Round stage.
Scott Jones’ strike had given Chichester City hope at home to Buckland Athletic, halving the deficit with half an hour to go, but only for the Devonshire side to score late on and seal a 3-1 win at Oaklands Park.
Eastbourne Town, meanwhile, suffered a nightmare at Crowborough Athletic. The South East Counties League leaders ran out 6-0 winners at the Community Stadium, with two goals coming from former Town defender Jack Turner.
With Shoreham without a game, Haywards Heath Town missed the chance to move two points behind the Mussels at the top after playing out an entertaining game with Pagham. Trevor McCreadie put the Blues 2-0 up at Hanbury Park before Kieron Pamment halved the deficit at the break. James Binfield in the Pagham goal then kept his side in it, saving from the penalty spot, only for Alex Laing to put the hosts 3-1 up with ten minutes to go. However, the Lions came back to earn a point with Liam Humphries and Joe Shelley on target to earn a 3-3 draw.
Broadbridge Heath stay in sixth spot despite an impressive win against Newhaven. Dean Wright, Jake Holmes, Oli Moore and Marlon Maxwell were all on target in a 4-1 win at the Leisure Centre, with Ian Robinson scoring late on for the Dockers.
Worthing United are a point from safety after picking up a surprising 3-0 win at home to Horsham YMCA. Paul Elliott scored twice after a goalless second half to help Simon Funnell to his first home win in charge. Adrian Todd added a third goal late on for the Mavericks.
Wick moved out of the bottom three after a 5-1 win at home to a Hailsham Town side rooted to the foot of the table. Dan Simmonds scored a hat-trick for Lee Baldwin’s side, with Ashley Harper and Joe Grommet also on target in the rout. Hallum Cousins’ goal had drawn Town level at Crabtree Park, but it was in vein.
Late goals helped Loxwood earn a draw away at Peacehaven. Marcus Allen and Jack Doe goals put Haven two goals ahead with just eight minutes to go, but Toby House and a stoppage time effort from Eddie French saw the Magpies earn a share of the spoils at the Unibet Arena.
In the division’s other game, Eastbourne United returned to winning ways at home to Lancing. Liam Baitup scored a brace after Adam Davidson had opened the scoring in a 3-1 win at the Oval.
In Division One, Little Common remain top, but only on goal difference after they lost at Steyning Town. Charlie Romain scored a fifteen-minute hat-trick in the second half to give the Barrowmen a 3-0 win that lifts them into the top three.
Saltdean United moved level on points with Common after a comfortable win at home to Lingfield. Josh Jones, who represented Peacehaven in the Ryman Premier, scored a brace for the Tigers, whilst Ashley Rees and Wes Millis were also on target in the 4-1 win.
There were a couple of surprise scorelines in the division, none more so at the Colwell Ground where St. Francis Rangers registered only their second league win of the season. Rhys White scored twice, with Chris Haskell and Stuart Goodwin also on target in a 4-0 win over Selsey.
AFC Varndeanians also won their second league game of the season – and also 4-0 – against Midhurst & Easebourne. Matt Waterman bagged a brace at the Withdean Stadium, with George Bunch and Freddie Barker also on target late on.
Billingshurst moved up the table courtesy of a big 5-1 win over Langney Wanderers. Nick Tilley, Eno Idiong, Jordan Stallibrass and a brace from Bright Temba saw the hosts run out big winners at Jubilee Fields.
Seaford Town made East Preston work hard for a 1-0 win at the Lashmar. After a workman-like performance, Town’s defence was finally breached twenty minutes from time as Dan Huet struck after Ben Head had saved Hayden Hunter’s effort.
Southwick move up to eighth after a 3-1 win over Storrington. Ross Petts, Joe Bidwell and Thomas Donnelly were all on target for the hosts.
In the division’s other game, Mile Oak fell out of the top three on goal difference despite beating Bexhill United. Enzo Benn struck the game’s only goal late on for Oak at Mile Oak Rec.
The game between Oakwood and Ringmer was abandoned shortly after half-time due to serious injury.
In Division Two, Bosham’s 28-game unbeaten run came to an end in a thrilling game at Walton Lane. Bradley Miles’ effort was cancelled out by Dan Lawrence before half-time as Jarvis Brook went in on level terms with the league leaders. Graeme Dowden restored the Robins’ lead, only for Tom Saunders and then Mike Fuller goals put Brook ahead. Bradley Miles then made it 3-3, only for Daryl King to score the winning goal for Rob Gordon’s third-place side seven minutes from time.
Sidlesham stay second, but moved five points behind Bosham after a 3-0 win against Alfold. Tom Bayley scored twice, with John Phillips also on target for the Sids.
Clymping registered their sixth win of the season against Ferring at St. Flora Sportsfield. Sam Leggatt, Tom Foxon and Charles Lowdell all scored twice, with Harry Potts and Ryan Stevens also on target in the 8-0 win.
Montpelier Villa came from behind to beat Worthing Town Leisure at Sussex University. Steve Kirkham had given the visitors the lead, only for Chris Grant, Simon Whitney and Aidan Robbins to give Villa a 3-1 win.
Rottingdean Village came from 2-0 down to draw at home to Lancing United. Brad Hunt and Grant Thetford goals put United ahead at the Sports Centre, only for Danny Stearman and Damian Stearman goals to earn the hosts a point.
In the division’s other game, Matt Dadswell and Callum Smith goals saw Westfield come from behind to earn a point at Cowfold. Mark Edmonds and Ben Hands had put the hosts 2-0 ahead at half-time.