Match Report: Gareth Nicholas
With a trip to Littlehampton Town the following night to think about and the injury list getting longer, four debutant youngsters – Brad Dologhan, Rocco Gamblin, Elliot Bresciani and Fin “Chopper” Chadwick made the sub’s bench (and got on); although there was good news on the player welfare front too, as Marvin Armstrong made a welcome return to the team, alongside an unnamed trialist.
In a similar start to last Tuesday’s goal-fest against Three Bridges, Reds were quickly out of the blocks; finding themselves two-nil up inside the opening five minutes.
Both strikes came from the trusty right boot of Reece Myles-Meekums. Will Seager volleying home his first into the bottom corner and, barely sixty seconds later, Jasper Pattenden doing likewise, after Ollie Pearce’s attempted near post diving header had only been half-cleared by the home defence.
Unrelenting, the visitors were soon on the attack again; winning the ball back in midfield, allowing trialist number two – Seager at East Preston being number one – to initiate a swift breakaway, before supplying Pearce with an opportunity to add a third of the evening so far that the striker pulled agonisingly wide of the back stick.
However, the game turned in the host’s favour when Jamie White rose high above a largely static away rearguard, to connect powerfully with Alex Prelspolewski’s left wing corner and head home.
Eager to re-establish their two-goal cushion, only a flying, punched interception and clearance by Rover’s goalkeeper, Konrad Szymaniak prevented our trialist from getting on the end of Pearce’s centre; going airborne himself to almost head in at the far upright.
Four minutes later though, Ollie did manage to set-up a match-clinching third when he played a pass into the path of Frankie Perry, who saw his initial effort kept out by Szymaniak, only for the ball to rebound in off the midfielder.
Despite this, Baffins were never out of the game and came close to an instant response when the set-piece expertise of Prelspolewski, this time found the dome of Molyneaux but the experienced centre-half could only glance across the target and out the other side to safety.
One final chance of the half fell to unmarked Skipper, Danny Barker. He turned on a sixpence and fired fractionally the wrong side of the post, after Pattenden had recycled his own flag-kick back into the danger zone
The early stages of the second period almost proved to be a carbon-copy of the first, as Captain (James) Cowan was crowded out and subsequently dispossessed in the middle of the pitch to commence a breakaway.
Pattenden released Perry who, in turn, picked out the run of trialist two on the left. He drifted back into a central position, where his well-stuck attempt was blocked by the body of Molyneaux on the edge of the box.
Harrison Male had to be alert when racing out to smother at the feet of Callum Dart, after Harry Sargeant’s slide-rule pass had slipped him in.
It should have been four for the Isthmian Premier promotion hopefuls until Armstrong got his bearings all wrong. Myles-Meekums burst down the right flank and fizzed in a low delivery that Pearce held up and laid off for Marv to blast over the bar from close range.
A seven-day approach has, however, since been submitted by the neighbouring cricket club, who were impressed by the direct hit on the stumps which ran out the visiting batsman, three runs shy of his century.
Instead, BMR were closer to doubling their tally through man-of-the-moment, Sergeant.
Harrison Male’s underhit ball out to Ahmed Kamil-Hassan was pounced on by Prelspolewski and, following an exchange of passes with Sargeant, the latter was foiled by the ‘keeper, as he recovered his composure.
Baffins kept battling and soon Male’s reflexes were being tested again, when he bravely denied Sargeant on a second occasion, at his front post; Prelspolewski’s left-sided cross and flick-on from Miles Everett being the catalyst.
A little over ten minutes remained on the clock but the men in red were still looking for an elusive fourth of the contest.
They nearly got it too; Pattenden cutting in off the right and stinging the palms of Szymaniak who beat the attempt away at the near stick.
The same player then took the corner that came as a direct consequence and eventually culminated in the recently-introduced Gamblin seeing his effort blocked.
Another off the bench, Callum Steel put a good chance over the top after Pearce had come in off the left and watched netminder, Szymaniak fumble the first.
Virtually seconds remained when referee, Andy Dunn showed a yellow card to Cowan for a late tackle on Armstrong but immediately, the home Skip redeemed himself in stoppage time, by latching onto a ball played “around the corner” by substitute, Callum Smith and successfully converting the penalty awarded for a foul on him by Seager; getting up and calmly sending Male the wrong way from the spot.