Sheerwater suffered later heartbreak as they fell to a 3-2 defeat at Abbey Rangers in the Combined Counties Premier Division South last Tuesday night (March 19).

After two wins in their previous two games against Tooting and Redhill, Sheerwater went into the game with confidence. The game saw a return to the former club of manager TJ Barbato and assistant manager Luke Stone.

The Sheers came back from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 but surrendered the lead while Abbey had nine men on the pitch because of a red card and a sin bin for George Frith and Dale Burnham respectively. Abbey then won the game in the last minute.

The opening period was a bit cagey with neither team taking many risks and neither keeper having too much to do. This changed on 13 minutes when Sheerwater conceded a free-kick 25 yards out and Jack Watts took full advantage by clipping an effort over the wall and finding the bottom corner past Alfie Mickley.

Michael Leech had a chance to equalise five minutes later with a free header from a Zac Jervis corner but his effort was off target. Callum Mackie cut inside to fire a shot over on 20 minutes. Mickley then did well to come out quickly to deny Luke Robertson. Skipper Michael Milne showed strength and skill in the 23rd minute to put George Sellick away down the left but his cross was cleared. Elliot York found time and space when a Sellick corner was cleared but his left-footed strike went wide.

George Mackie drew the teams level shortly before half-time with his fourth goal in four games with a beautiful left-footed effort that flew into the top corner.

Sheerwater led 2-1 at Abbey Rangers before falling to a 3-2 defeat (Photo: Daniel Eicke)
Sheerwater led 2-1 at Abbey Rangers before falling to a 3-2 defeat (Photo: Daniel Eicke) (Daniel Eicke)

Ross Murdoch wasted an early chance for Abbey in the second half, poking a good chance wide of the post. Matt Bryant then made a fine last-ditch tackle on 51 minutes to break up a promising move from Abbey. The Sheers edged ahead on 52 minutes with Leech winning the ball and feeding Jervis, who got forward before finding Sellick out wide. He cut in and shot at the near post, where Samuel Gray in the Abbey goal fumbled the ball over the line.

Five minutes later Abbey’s Frith was dismissed for a poor tackle on Milne. Abbey had a good chance soon afterwards but Leech made a fine tackle. Burnham was then sin-binned for dissent and Sheewater would face nine men for ten minutes. Abbey equalised on 71 minutes as a cross to the far post was headed back across goal and ex-Sheer Danilo Cadete tapped home from six yards. The visitors knuckled down and got on the front foot again. Gray atoned for his earlier error with a match-winning save on 73 minutes. Sellick lined up an effort and hit it hard and low towards the bottom corner, but Gray was down acrobatically to turn it away for a corner.

Abbey snatched victory in the last minute. It was a brilliant effort into the top corner just like Mackie’s first-half effort, but it could have been avoided as Aidan King was allowed to bring the ball forward unchallenged. He fed Murdoch, who was not closed down quickly and produced a bit of skill before firing a fine effort past Mickley.

Goals ultimately win games and Abbey took the points to keep their play-off hopes on course. As for Sheerwater it has been a good couple of weeks for a young side but their lack of experience probably counted against them. It is all still to play for to avoid finishing bottom and being relegated.

A seven-goal blitz, including a Max McGarrity hat-trick, saw Sheerwater Pilgrims seal the Guildford & Woking Alliance Premier Division title with a thumping 7-1 win against the University of Surrey at Eastwood on Saturday.

The home side took advantage of a fierce first-half wind and the game was all but over as a contest in the first half as they romped to a 5-0 lead.

Action from Sheerwater Pilgrims' 7-1 win against University of Surrey (Photo: Daniel Eicke)
Action from Sheerwater Pilgrims' 7-1 win against University of Surrey (Photo: Daniel Eicke) (Daniel Eicke)

McGarrity opened the scoring with a neat near-post finish on 15 minutes, before Liam Prentice-Bolger made it two. Luke Richards scrambled home from a corner before McGarrity outfought a defender to make it four and Jiv Rutah scored the fifth before the break.

McGarrity completed his hat-trick on 75 minutes and Rutah notched his 15th of the season to round off the scoring. A late consultation penalty for the visitors ended the afternoon’s goal rush.

The Pilgrims face Beacon Hill on Saturday in the Premier Cup semi-finals.