Littlehampton Football Club boss Ady Baker is hoping to start climbing the SCFL Premier Division table after a encouraging performance in their 1-1 draw with Horsham YMCA on Saturday.
Golds were boosted in the build-up to the match by the return of last season’s player-manager George Gaskin and left-sided player Mitchell Hand, while full-back Rob Lofting also joined from Tonbridge Angels.
With a bit more luck, Littlehampton would have taken all three points on Saturday after hitting the woodwork three times – including in the final minute.
Hand fired against a post from a well-worked corner routine early on and Jack Cole lobbed the YM keeper and also hit the woodwork, before Littlehampton went ahead on 40 minutes. Marshall Ball did superbly in midfield and played Cole through on goal; he rounded the keeper and then squared for Ben Gray to tap home.
Horsham YMCA made a bright start to the second half and equalised on 53 minutes when Sam Schaaf scored at the second attempt after Golds keeper Luke Hutchings had made an excellent save.
Littlehampton then had a great chance to grab all three points in the final minute as Gray got through one-on-one and saw his shot saved, before his rebound struck one post and rolled across the line to hit the other post.
Baker said: “We nearly came away with all three points but we’d have taken a point before the game.
“We’ve got the quality in the team now and we’ve just got to go out and play like everything depends on every game.
“If we can get up to eighth or ninth, with the team we’ve got now, that would be a good season but our first priority is to get ourselves safe.
“There’s no point looking too far ahead. Our only goal at the moment is just to get some more points on the board.”
Baker was delighted to have Gaskin and Hand – both title winners with Golds in 2015 – back with the club for the game. Gaskin had netted 21 goals for SCFL leaders Shoreham this season and will also help out Baker’s management team.
Baker said: “George and Mitchell have got a good affinity with the club and I want to add I’ve got full respect for Shoreham and how they handled it – they were good as gold.
“George has come back for personal reasons as he wanted to spend more time with his family, while Mitchell wasn’t available for every game at Shoreham.
“George will come back and play but he’ll be part of the management team as well and help us out.
“The performance was superb on Saturday and having Mitchell and George back gave everyone a boost.
“It was a quality performance and Liam O’Connor and Josh Bates were both immense as well.”
Golds host bottom club Hailsham on Saturday.
LITTLEHAMPTON: Hutchings; Chaplin, Cox, Bates, McKay, O’Connor, Hand, Ball, Gaskin, Gray, Cole. Subs: Lofting (Cox 60), Asare (Cole 75), Kew (Hand 80), Farrell, Ashman.
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