Action from under-16s vs. AFA

Sussex rue missed opportunities vs. AFA

The Sussex County FA Under-16s Representative Squad began their South East Counties Youth Championship campaign with a narrow defeat against the...

The young Sussex side were unfortunate not to take anything from the game, having been firmly on top throughout much of the contest, but the visitors held strong and managed to keep the hosts at bay despite intense pressure.

Sussex started out much the better side in the opening stages, and nearly took a deserved lead in the 19th minute when winger George Britton picked out Brad Santos from the right, but his first-time shot whistled over the crossbar.

However, Sussex’s dominance was disrupted on the half hour mark as the visitors took the lead against the run of play.

Forward Bailey Stevenson picked up the ball in the area, jinked past his man with a slick turn and squared it for Dario Sesay de Luca who coolly dispatched his shot past Sussex goalkeeper Henry Lester.

Sussex responded well to going a goal down, pushing forward relentlessly, and equalised within three minutes through forward Tom Chaleye who pounced on Britton’s driven cross to smash the ball home.

Seconds before half-time the hosts nearly added a second; a fabulous run and pass from midfielder Tom Collins set the lively Chaleye through on goal once more, but his fiercely hit shot cannoned off the post.

The best chance for Sussex to take the lead came five minutes after the break, when Chaleye again found himself in a one-on-one situation, but scuffed his effort wide of the post to the relief of the AFA goalkeeper.

Moments later, the away side restored their lead as striker Rigbert Rama capitalised on a defensive mix-up and slid the ball into an empty net to leave Sussex chasing the game once again.

As the second half progressed, Sussex found opportunities to draw level increasingly hard to come by, with the visitors maintaining a very well-organised defensive structure.

The hosts continued to pile on the pressure right up to the final whistle, but their efforts were ultimately in vain as the visitors held on to secure all three points.

Following the defeat Sussex manager Paul Atkinson said that his side were “unfortunate” not to come away with the result, having dominated possession and created more chances than their opponents.

“It’s very rare I’ll say this but the result was an absolute travesty of the game,” he said. “We created enough chances. We weren’t clinical, that was our downfall.

“The lads are learning, and they will make mistakes. It’s part of the experience. They never really threatened us apart from the two mistakes which led to goals - but that’s them being clinical and that’s what football’s about.

“We created so many chances, and we should have taken two or three of them, but the result is completely the opposite.”
(A selection of photos from the match can be found on Facebook - further photos via Simon Roe Photography)

Stats: (Sussex-AFA)
Goals: 1-2; Shots: 12-6; Shots-on-target: 5-2; Corners: 3-2; Fouls: 9-6; Offside: 3-0; Yellow cards: 0-0; Red cards: 0-0.

Sussex: Lester, Harper, Claydon, De Moor, Cocorrachio, Greenslate, Britton, Collins, Chalaye, Brady, Santos.
Substitutes: Sandell, Jelley, Langford, Neathey, Weedon.

AFA: Hauserman, Murphy, Colman, Badjenga, Ola, Brown, Sesay de Luca, Mulligan, Stevenson, Rama, Kerenki.
Substitutes: Azaze, Husseyin, Ali, Scott.

Match report by Archie Griggs

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