Sussex breeze past Northamptonshire to reach next round
Sussex are into the quarter-finals of The FA County Youth Cup (under-18s) after a rampant display saw them run out 5-0 winners over Northamptonshire FA on a cold and wet Sunday afternoon at Culver Road.
Sussex dominated the match throughout and took an early lead through Dylan Gifford. The visitors gave themselves a mountain to climb when first James Lea was given a straight red card, and then Luca Purse received a second yellow to reduce them down to nine men.
The numerical advantage was exploited by Sussex who ran riot from then on in with Gifford doubling the lead with his second, Dylan Jelly added a third and Liam Brady a fourth soon after, before Gifford completed his hat-trick and the scoring from the penalty spot to cap off a fine individual, and team performance.
Sussex started the game brightly and both James Waters and the lively Jasper Pattenden went close before Gifford fired his side into the lead on ten minutes. A neat move between Waters and Gifford saw the latter wriggle free in the box and he kept his composure to slot the ball low past the keeper.
Waters was proving a real thorn in the Northamptonshire defence with his bullish style and he along with Purse both picked up a booking after an altercation with little over half-an-hour played - something the defender would later regret.
Northamptonshire goalkeeper Lewis North-Row was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers and he was grateful to his defence with thirty-eight minutes on the clock as they managed to get a deflection on a Finn Pittock shot before it fell into the keeper’s hands, after the winger had done brilliantly to jink past three defenders to create the opportunity.
Just moments before the end of the first-half Northamptonshire were reduced to ten men when their captain Lea was given a straight red card for a two-footed challenge on Gifford in the middle of the park.
The second-half carried on in the same vein as the first with Sussex in full control and they went straight at their opponents from the restart with Gifford forcing North-Row in a fine diving save after just twenty seconds.
Minutes later Waters nearly doubled Sussex’s lead with a cheeky back-heeled effort which was cleared off the line, after great work down the left by Pattenden.
Pittock went close again for Sussex as he again evaded several challenges before prodding goal-wards only for North-Row’s outstretched leg to make the save, and Dan Blackmore headed a Pattenden free-kick just over as the home-side pushed for that all important second goal.
On the hour mark Northamptonshire’s task was made even harder as the aforementioned Purse received his second yellow card for dissent and was duly given his marching orders by referee Alexander Mathieson.
Surprisingly in the face of adversity Northamptonshire registered their first real opportunity of note minutes after going down to nine men, when Hilton Arthur chased down a loose ball, cut back onto his right foot and fired low towards the bottom corner which Mitch Bromage did well to dive and hold on to in the Sussex goal.
However, it wasn’t long before Sussex did double their lead. A flurry of passes on the edge of Northamptonshire’s box created space for Gifford to score his and Sussex’s second with a low sweeping drive into the bottom corner on sixty-seven minutes.
Josh Gould’s introduction to the Sussex front-line gave his side more drive going forwards and he nearly added a third with twenty minutes to go after linking up well with Gifford, but his powerful effort cannoned back off the post after North-Row had been well beaten
Two minutes later though the third goal did arrive, a short corner was taken to Pattenden and he delivered a low ball into the area which ricocheted around before falling to centre-back Jelly in-front of goal and he calmly slotted home.
North-Row had to be at full stretch to deny Pattenden on seventy-four minutes, but he was powerless to stop Sussex extending their lead to four only three minutes later, as his side gave the ball away twenty-five yards out and Brady pounced on it before unleashing a rasping low drive that flew in past the keeper.
With ten minutes to go Sussex were awarded a penalty after Gould was felled in the box by Northamptonshire’s Tom Coley. The spot-kick provided the perfect opportunity for Gifford to complete his hat-trick and he duly obliged sending North-Row the wrong way and taking Sussex’s lead to five.
There was still time for Blackmore to go close again for Sussex with a header at the back post, and Northamptonshire to muster up two opportunities of their own as Arthur hit a full-blooded volley just wide of the post and Connor Ianson see a well-struck effort from thirty yards tipped over the crossbar by Bromage to preserve his clean-sheet.
Sussex will now face Norfolk County FA at home in the Quarter-Finals of The FA County Youth Cup with a date and venue to be confirmed
After the match Sussex manager Jay Lovett gave his thoughts on the performance: “I’m really pleased with today, especially after our last performance here in the league a few weeks ago, this was the perfect reaction from the boys.
“We controlled the game from the start, even when they had their full eleven on the pitch, we dominated and played some lovely football throughout the game.
“We asked the boys to play out of tight areas, be on the front foot and try to be creative through midfield, they did that and we got our shots off this week, we were far more clinical too which was really pleasing to see.”
(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Kyle Hemsley Photography)
Goals: 5-0; Shots: 27-8; Shots-on-target: 19-2; Corners: 5-4; Offside: 3-2; Fouls: 11-13; Yellows: 2-2; Reds: 0-2.
Sussex: Bromage, Blackmore, Beresford, Mthunzi, Jelly, Cocorachio ©, Gifford, Goldsmith, Waters, Pattenden, Pittock.
Subs: Brady, Seymour, Rawlingson, Harper, Gould.
Northamptonshire: North-Row, Barrett, Casey, Walpole, Purse, Coley, Atcha, Lea ©, Arthur, Iaciofano, Obeng.
Subs: Ianson, Mensah, Mpambi, Ansell, Lee-Holmes.
Match report by Darren Ford