Sheerwater returned to the Eastwood Centre on Saturday, following last week’s fine win away at Farnham Town. The wait for the Sheers' first home win in the league goes on as Balham edged a tight game and claimed a 1-0 victory over their hosts.
There were three changes to the starting line-up which were enforced due to a mixture of illness and injury. Cadete, Cox and Green were replaced by Mark Dunckley, Will Frank, and new signing, Jake Nicholls.
Balham started brightly and Harvey Rackley-Hayes made a fine one-handed save on five minutes, turning the effort away for a corner. The next 20 minutes were fairly quiet with a lack of goalmouth action. Balham had two extremely quick, tricky wingers, forcing JJ Loftsmith and Joe Barley to work overtime.
Boss, Michael Herbert was constantly telling his back four to push up and squeeze the play but the message wasn’t heeded and Balham got on top. Fiddes was teed up but his shot went across goal and wide.
A Sheerwater attack was broken up and Matt Stockill took a yellow card by pulling back Adebayo to stop a promising attack.
Callum Coen forced Balham keeper, Read into a fine save on thirty-seven minutes. Andre Smith created the chance and Coen let fly from 22 yards but Read was equal to it. Balham replied with a chance of their own forcing Rackley-Hayes into a good stop.
Coen was once again set up by Smith but this time his effort was just wide. The final chance of the half saw Pagano get round the Sheers gloveman but his effort only found the side netting.
The Sheers had two quick efforts at the start of the second half, through Frank and Stockill. Both strikes were just off target.
The only goal of the game came on 51 minutes. Loftsmith was penalised for a trip. Pagano whipped his effort against the underside of the cross-bar and Adebayo was on hand to nod the ball into an empty net.
Balham thought they had doubled their lead soon after but the assistant referee had his flag raised for offside.
The hosts tried to find a way back into the game and a good move on 69 minutes saw Smith get into a good position but he cut across the ball and sliced the attempt wide. Smith, who was hampered by a knock, was creative throughout and he set up another chance, this time for Hugo Silveira but Read was out quickly to smother.
With time running out it was Stockill who had the final chance, with a shot on the turn which was comfortably saved by Read.
So Balham, who had been winless for a while, returned home with the spoils. For the Sheers, the wait goes on for a first home league win this season at the Eastwood Centre.
FT: Sheerwater 0-1 Balham FC
SHEERWATER: Rackley-Hayes, Barley, Loftsmith (Sims 72'), Nicholls (Cleevely 78'), Dunckley, Gritt, Frank, Coen (Davis 65'), Smith, Stockill, Shaw (Silveira 72').