The Magpies made the midweek trip to Crawley Down in the league with the intention of putting their disappointing result in the FA Vase on Saturday behind them despite the absence of key squad members Tom Summerfield, Josh Courtney, Mark Cave and Eddie French. Unfortunately the relatively short journey across the A23 provided no such solace.
The first quarter of the match saw little action to speak of although Jay Lovett, making only his second appearance for the visitors, was proving to be a threat early on but without fashioning a clear opportunity, as such it was The Anvils that seized the advantage. In the 23rd minute a quick break and shot forced Sam Smith to save well but the rebound dropped to Dan Sullivan who duly tucked the loose ball home.
However, it didn't take long for the visitors to hit back. Just 6 minutes later a break of their own saw Sam Beard find Lovett and the experienced campaigner showed composure to tuck the ball beyond the 'keeper. Unfortunately the equalising goal didn't deliver the settling effect that was hoped for as an aimless through ball wasn't dealt with in the 37th minute and Sam Crane took advantage of the hesitation to restore the lead for the hosts.
Things would get considerably worse at The Haven Centre before half time arrived. Crane got away again just a few minutes later and as Smith tried to sweep up behind his back-line he was only able to bring the striker down and if giving away a penalty wasn't enough (duly dispatched by Oli Leslie) he sustained injuries that soon led to his departure from the action, being replaced by Harrison Hilfiker and with a booking to add to his troubles.
Manager Mark Beard decided to use his remaining substitutes at half time in an attempt to arrest the flow and overturn the 3-1 defecit, as such Zach Haulkham and Rhyan Ramsey replaced Tom Atkinson and Adam Williams.
Initially it looked like the changes were having the desired effect as the Magpies began to regain a foothold in the match, however they were restricted to speculative set pieces and long range efforts as the hosts defended astutely free from the need to play expansively going forward. That didn't prevent them remaining a threat on the break though and sure enough they took advantage of the lack of any further scoreboard pressure when yet another direct ball wasn't dealt with and this led to Leslie doubling his tally for the night when he cooly slotted past Hilfiker to make it 4-1.
That wasn't the end of the woes as when another break forced a corner Marc Pelling rose higher than anyone around him to clinically head home a fifth and effectively secure the victory as early as the 61st minute. To their credit the visitors kept plugging away and Haulkham had a sweet volley just fly the wrong side of the post and a number of well directed crosses from Sam Beard on the left weren't seized upon in the penalty area. Meanwhile at the other end Hilfiker was able to prevent any further damage in only his second appearance of the season .
With hardly any time left on the clock there was something to cheer for the travelling faithful as Ramsey capped off his tenacious second half performance when he seized upon a mistake by the home 'keeper before turning home his first of the season. Nevertheless this was certainly a night and performance to forget.
Team: Atkinson (Ramsey 45), Bachelor, S Beard, Colbran, Jacques, Lovett, Napper, Scally, Smith (Hilfiker 41), Williams (Haulkham 45) & Wood Subs unused: Jee