Wick & Barnham Utd ended Mile Oak’s unbeaten start to the season with a comprehensive 3-0 win at Crabtree Park in division two of the Sussex League.
Oak arrived with a 100 per cent record following home wins over Loxwood and Midhurst which saw them lead the table after two games, but they had no answer to a United side who put in a much better performance than in Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Saltdean.
The Reds gave an early indication of things to come as Mark Pedrick tried his luck after four minutes, firing a free-kick towards the near post, but his shot was saved by keeper Stenning.
Oak could have taken the lead on 11 minutes, keeper Byron Kearns tipping the ball round the post from the visitors’ best chance of the half.
United took the lead soon after, Pedrick’s miscued shot looping over the top of Stenning, who could only help palm the ball in the net. Minutes later, a Pedrick, Nathan Parke and Dan Cox almost combined for the second but the combination of Stenning, the bar and a block from an opposing defender kept the ball out.
Oak tried hard to get back in the game in the second half, but the pace of Parke always gave United the chance of a quick counter-attack, providing Pedrick with two chances around the hour mark to increase the lead while Sam Devine shot wide on the turn soon after.
United’s much-needed second goal came on 77 minutes. Matt Noble was fouled in the box and up stepped Pedrick to fire the ball past Stenning.
The hosts’ back line had to defend stoutly as Oak tried valiantly to find a way back into the match.
Pedrick wrapped up the scoring and his hat-trick in the 90th minute, a free-kick from the right eluding everyone and nestling in the net to put the gloss on a good team performance.
Against Saltdean, the visitors took the lead in 12th minute through a Bentley free-kick and doubled their advantage when Marshall volleyed home on 25 minutes. United created plenty of chances in the second half, but had only Pedrick’s late goal to show for their efforts.
Wick & Barnham travel to new boys Haywards Heath on Saturday and welcome Loxwood to Crabtree Park next Tuesday.
Midhurst and Easebourne are still looking for their first success of the season. They lost 2-0 at Mile Oak last Thursday and 4-0 at Broadbridge Heath on Tuesday.
They’ll hope for better at Saltdean on Saturday and Oakwood on Wednesday.