STORRINGTON Football Club manager Nigel Dyer felt that his team “did not work hard enough” as they were beaten 1-0 at local rivals Steyning Town on Tuesday (February 19) in County League Division 2.
Craig Knowles hit Steyning’s winner in injury-time when he beat Storrington keeper Jason Downer at his far post with a cross-shot.
Both teams had struggled for fluidity and creativity on a bobbly pitch, but it was Steyning who always looked more likely to find a winner in a typically cagey derby.
Adam Burton headed over from a Kerry Parsons cross early on, Sean Hourigan went close with a volley and Burton then thought he had headed his team ahead, only to be denied by the offside flag.
Storrington rarely threatened but Steyning keeper Matt Evans was kept on his toes from a counter-attack in the 22nd minute when he was forced to push away a long-range Will Conway effort.
Michael Page then almost put the home side ahead as he fired narrowly wide from a Phil Williamson cut-back, following good work from Knowles.
After a relatively even first half, Steyning were dominant after the break but, owing to a combination of poor finishing and good defending from the visitors, they were unable to make the breakthrough.
Dave Harris fired a free kick wide, Burton went close from a corner and Murat Aslan just failed to apply a finish to Alex Gathern’s centre.
Swans always looked capable of nicking a goal from a set-piece and Liam Humphreys almost put them ahead from one such free kick, but Evans was equal to it.
That looked as though it would be the last opportunity of an attritional encounter, but Knowles 14th goal of the campaign at the death proved decisive.
Storrington boss Nigel Dyer said: “The pitch was a big leveller but that’s no excuse.
“We didn’t work hard enough, which is how we said we could win the game, and they wanted it more, which is not good enough in a derby game.
“It’s a harsh way to lose, right at the end after defending so well, but we never looked like winning the game and that’s disappointing.”
Steyning manager Richard Whittington said: “They’ve had the edge over us in these games for the last few seasons, so it’s nice to win and start climbing that table and we’re looking for a top-half finish now.”
STORRINGTON: Downer; Davis, Elliott, Pickford, Setchell; Hobden, Conway, Watton, Humphreys, Jarvie; Robertshaw. Subs: Chester, Forsey, Walsh, Rhodie.
Swans lost 1-0 at home to Loxwood in the league on Saturday when Shaun Findlay netted the only goal with 18 minutes to go.
Storrington rallied to try to get an equaliser but could not find one and boss Nigel Dyer said afterwards: “We must learn to score more goals when the opportunities arise, to turn the likes of last week’s draw into a win and this game’s loss into a draw.”
With the game at 0-0, Liam Humphreys headed over, Luke Jearum was denied by a good save and Joe Warner fired over when through one-on-one.
STORRINGTON: Downer; Chester, Elliott, Pickford, Rhodie; Watton, Jarvie, Jearum, Humphreys; Warner, Robertshaw. Subs: Conway (Warner), Setchell (Rhodie), Walsh (Watton), Davis.