Hove Park Colts were confirmed as Sussex W J Jewell Trophy (under-12s) champions after they beat Horsham Youth 3-0 in the Final on Sunday.
Without conceding a single goal and scoring an impressive twenty-five in the five-match passage to the final, Hove’s manager Aaron Stenning was ecstatic with his team’s performance, yet remained humble and complimentary towards Horsham.
He said: “I’m absolutely over the moon, the boys were good and focused and they wanted to do it for each other. They were fantastic first-half.
“We came out absolutely flying and the first opportunity we had went in and then as the game got old, the boys grew into it and seemed quite comfortable.
“Horsham came out second-half and gave a real good go of it and if they had taken one or two of the chances they had early on in the second-half, it could have been a different game.”
It took just five minutes for Hove to open the scoring through William Goss, he smashed the ball in from close range after a goal-mouth scramble resulted from Billy Ground’s corner.
The home-side almost replied immediately as Max Morris forced Finley Jenkins, in Hove’s goal, into a fine save.
Hove continued to apply pressure and soon found themselves with another great chance. Sam Bull found space on the edge of the area and his strike forced Hove’s captain and goalkeeper, George Edgley into a fine diving save to his right.
The save proved to be an important one as Hove went on to score two goals in quick succession.
The first coming sixteen minutes in when Franklin McMillan played an excellent one-two with Samory Dougnaglo, and he put it on a plate for McMillan to slot the ball into the bottom corner and double his team’s lead.
Minutes later, a big kick out of defence set Dougnaglo on his way, the midfielder burst through Horsham’s defence, rounded the keeper and passed the ball into an empty net.
Horsham just managed to see out the half despite another great chance for Hove. This time, Ground fired a low shot on goal from outside the box but Edgley was equal to it.
In the second-half, it was Horsham who started on the front foot, with a troubling backwards header from Isaac Small and unbelievable efforts from Sammy Henderson who appeared to be everywhere on the pitch trying to get his team back into the game.
Soon Horsham’s momentum shifted back to Hove’s dominance. Kiran Mahapatra went close with a shot which went just wide, following a blistering run forward by Keane Rodrigues.
With Hove looking to put the game out of sight, Rodrigues fired a shot from distance that beat Edgley but cannoned off the crossbar and over.
The final minutes saw another flurry of attacks from Stenning’s side but goalkeeper Edgley kept the score-line at three, with a last-minute heroic double save which denied Bull and then Goss.
The Hove manager will be happy with the convincing 3-0 win and now focuses his attention on the next challenge for his young Colts.
“We need one point from our remaining four league games to clinch the title, and then we’ve got the league knockout final at the end of April.
“So the boys are a third of the way there in doing the treble, and it will be up to them if they want to do it, I’ll be doing everything I can to try make that happen for them!”
(Video highlights from the match can be found above and also on YouTube - courtesy of FilmMyMatch)
(Photographs from the match can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)
Horsham Youth: Edgley ©, Massimo, Buttle, Henderson, Prill, Warren, Morris, Stevens, Simpkin.
Subs: Small, Embling, Bridle, Candfield, Matthews.
Hove Park Colts: Jenkins, Bull, Goss, Ground, Mahapatra, Dougnaglo, Rodrigues, Ceccarelli, McMillan ©.
Subs: Godliman, Fokou, Fendley, McLuckie, Humby.
Match report by George Patient