A HEARTSTOPPER AT THE BEACH
By Andrew ‘The Benchwarmer’ Mullett
OLD BRIGHTON: 5.3 7.5 11.9 12.13. 85
OLD TRINITY: 3.0 7.1 9.3 13.7. 85
Goals: Lewis 6, Hill 3, Williams, Jakobi, Otto.
Best: Hill, Lewis, Fisher, Jakobi, Bolger, Harris.
Old Brighton supporters watched in astonishment as the Tonners, after being headed for the first time in the dying minutes, fought back to momentarily regain the lead before finishing all square with the visiting Old Trinity yesterday. There was divided reaction to the tied result. Most were aggrieved that we had surrendered a match that we controlled for much of the day. Others, remembering the hammerings we took from Trinity at the end of last season, were happy to gain two points, a compromise that looked unlikely, when we gave Harry Tinney two last minute chances to win the match.
Harry Hill almost gave us the perfect start when he dashed around the boundary only to spray his shot. It was the only mistake he made all day. Our champion skipper played one of his best games yesterday, winning countless possessions, sprinting clear to nail crucial goals, and working tirelessly to restrict his opponents when they had the ball. Harry’s efforts so often gave others the chance to influence our fortunes. Will Lewis marked and kicked superbly. He was always a target for Harry, and Will’s six goals kept us in front for all but the final few minutes. Both players were inspirational, as their team-mates fought hard to go with them and hold the visitors at bay.
An evenly contested first half entertained the crowd. Trinity scored late goals at the pavilion end, favoured by a slight breeze, but the highlight was an extraordinary long and accurate drive by Will Lewis, who nailed his fourth from well out, the cross breeze complicating an already unlikely chance. Ben Jakobi had bounced one through, Seb Williams grabbed a chance to score from in close and Harry converted after strong work from young Max Lowan, who hurled himself at the ball to get it to his captain.
Lewis marked strongly and goaled twice in the third term, making the most of excellent passes from Harry and Raury Bolger, who continued his solid form from the previous week. Levi Otto’s angled snap was a gem, but it was concerning that our defence twice allowed Trinity to goal without much difficulty. The eighteen- point margin at the final break created tantalising prospects for a close finish as Trinity had the breeze at their backs in the final term.
Trinity surged for a final effort and after a period in which we contained them, the visitors goaled and then were able to add another soon after. The Tonners looked very stiff to be on the wrong end of a couple of decisions that looked at odds with interpretations made earlier in the match. Despite Tom Fisher’s hard work, Trinity looked to be finishing stronger. Hamish Dick had a rare chance with a long shot from the railway flank. It looked good in flight, but struck the post high up. Not long after, the reliable Otto aimed his set shot on a similarly sound line, but the breeze ignored it, and it too shaved the erections.
When Trinity finally hit the front with five minutes to go, finishing full of running, things looked dark for the Tonners. Suddenly, Harry appeared from under a goal-square pack and wrested the lead back for us and hopes soared, as both sides fought desperately to win possession. Almost the final play hit Harry Tinney lace out on the South Road flank. Brighton hearts sank. His kick fell short, Nick Pavlou won the clearance, and promptly fired it back to Tinney who hadn’t moved, and would now presumably amend his error and steal the victory. His second try looked better, but it veered left and was forced through over the line to level the scores. Twenty-six seconds later, with players grasping at the ball in front of the coaches, the siren halted both sides’ strivings, scored tied on 85 points each.