Sheerwater followed up last week’s fine performance against Tooting & Mitcham with a 2-0 victory at home to fourth-placed Redhill.

George Mackie scored for the third game running on nine minutes and substitute George Onwusonye wrapped up the win in the 85th minute.

Boss TJ Barbato selected the same 11 that started last week and was delighted afterwards with the three points, a clean sheet and the tremendous attitude and effort from all involved.

The first half flowed from end to end with chances galore and it was a surprise that it was only 1-0 at the break. Sheerwater started brightly and George Sellick went on a mazy run on three minutes before shooting on target left-footed, but the effort lacked power and was easily saved. Soon after another chance was created inside the area but the effort from Michael Milne was blocked.

The bright start was rewarded on nine minutes when Zak Jervis drove towards goal. He laid the ball off to Elliot York and his fierce effort was saved by Wynne-Roberts, but the alert George Mackie followed up and buried his shot in the far corner. It could have been two when York set up Sellick who fired a shot past Wynne-Roberts, but agonisingly saw it come back off the post.

Redhill, parading two new signings, created an opening on 13 minutes, with Sutherland hitting a powerful effort on target, but Alfie Mickley palmed it away at full stretch.

Redhill wasted a good opening on 16 minutes. A ball was launched forward and two Sheerwater players hesitated, allowing Duncan to go through, but his effort came back off the post and Mickley pounced on the rebound.

Mackie was denied by the keeper, who saved low down, and then another clever pass from York saw Mackie beat the keeper, but the effort came back off the post. Jervis, again instrumental in midfield, drove forward before slipping the ball through to York, who did everything right but was denied by the feet of Wynne-Roberts.

Redhill should have equalised on 26 minutes when another long ball allowed Ford a free run on goal, but he put his effort wide. Michael Milne played a one-two with Mackie on the edge of the box and got a shot off, but it was an easy save for Wynne-Roberts and the score remained 1-0 at half-time.

Redhill made a change at half-time and altered their shape to get back in the game and stop the threat from Sheerwater’s wide men. The expected onslaught from the visitors at the start of the second half did not materialise and Sheerwater looked fairly comfortable. Barbato’s team are composed on the ball and try to play their way out of trouble, but also know when to go long. The back four of Bryant, McGrane, Leech and Callum Mackie were superb and thoroughly deserved the clean sheet, and Alfie Mickley in goal was faultless.

Sheerwater v Redhill, March 16th 2024.
(Paul Heasman/Redhill FC)

Redhill created chances but poor finishing and decision making hindered their efforts. Three or four efforts were ballooned over the bar and crosses were dealt with. There was one almighty scramble in the six-yard box but Mickley got down bravely to gather. Louis McGrane made an unbelievable tackle on 74 minutes to deny Desanges who was about to shoot. Mickley made a couple of routine saves to keep it at 1-0.

On 82 minutes a Redhill corner was cleared and Jervis fed George Mackie, who in turn switched play to Sellick, who beat his man before unleashing a piledriver that went just over. A minute later, at the other end, Ben Dyson thought he had equalised with a low effort destined for the bottom corner but Mickley pulled off the save of the day, with a fingertip diverting the ball out for a corner.

Two minutes later it was 2-0 to Sheerwater. Leech was under pressure going back towards his goal but a Cruyff turn saw him come away and set up an attack. George Mackie received the ball on the right and drove forward before picking out George Onwusonye, who had made space for himself, and a touch out of his body enabled him to rifle a left-footed effort into the corner. There was no way Sheerwater were going to give Redhill a sniff after that and they comfortably saw out the game to complete a double over them.

Six points in a great seven days have boosted Sheerwater’s survival hopes, but the battle is out of their hands with five difficult games to come.