Sussex crush AFA with impressive display
The Sussex County FA under-18s Representative Squad stormed into a commanding position in Group B of the new-look South East Counties Youth Championship with an impressive and clinical victory over the Amateur Football Alliance at Culver Road.
Sussex had beaten Hertfordshire 2-1 in their opener, and made it two wins from two with this emphatic romp.
The result was spearheaded by the exploits of Josh Gould of Lewes, who plundered a first-half hat-trick, added to by Darius Goldsmith’s close-range finish as the hosts raced into a 4-0 lead by the interval.
Substitute Jack Parkinson put gloss on the ever-lengthening score-sheet in the second-half before an Ellis Routledge consolation for the outplayed visitors. Substitute Tyler Pearson completed the rout in the final minute.
The young Sussex side are seeking a third consecutive title in this year’s revamped tournament which is split into two groups, the other consisting of Representative teams from London, Essex, Kent and Middlesex. The two group winners meet in the final to decide the overall champions for 2017-18.
The hosts started strongly and moved ahead inside the opening 15 minutes through Gould, who fired in from close range after Charlie Williamson’s cut back at the culmination of a flowing four man move.
Sussex stopper Luke Glover saved well from Raekwon D’Cruz before opposite number Joseph Gunning denied Gould from distance at the other end.
Hayden Skerry flashed a shot wide but the second was not long in coming for Sussex as Luca Cocoracchio linked up with Ricky Aguilar whom in turn picked out Goldsmith to apply the finish four minutes shy of the half hour.
Gunning was called into action again when he tipped Skerry’s free-kick around the post, Aguilar flashed a shot wide and Isaac Ebelebe should have done better with a free-kick but failed to test Glover from a good position.
Sussex soon put the tie beyond any lingering doubt with a two goal salvo in as many minutes on the cusp of the interval, which saw Gould complete his hat-trick with a low finish and a 20 yarder than squirmed beyond the reach of Gunning for the Lewes man’s first-half treble.
The tie was all but over as a contest but Sussex did not relent and stretched their advantage further through Pagham’s Jack Parkinson on 55 minutes, when he drilled home at the far post through a posse of players, despite Joe Toscani’s attempted clearance.
AFA then enjoyed their best spell of the game as Sussex took their foot off the pedal, and the visitors went close twice in quick succession - first through Mentor Ramadani, who was denied by Glover - and then Christian Gyasi-Tuffour’s goal-bound follow-up which diverted to safety off Alfie Headland.
Moments after Glover had kept him out with a wonderful reflex save, Routledge exchanged passes with Junior Mubiayi and fired beyond the advancing keeper to pull a goal back and cap an impressive individual performance.
Fittingly, though, Sussex had the final say when Pearson of Eastbourne Borough, who had stepped off the bench, added gloss to the scoreline when he fired in the final flourish having been released by hat-trick man Gould in added time.
(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Kyle Hemsley Photography)
Goals: 6-1; Shots: 13-6; Shots-on-target: 8-2; Fouls: 4-4; Corners: 4-5; Offside: 1-3; Yellow cards: 0-0; Red cards: 0-0.
Sussex: Glover; Reed, McCarthy, Headland, Parker; Gould, Cocoracchio, Goldsmith, Williamson; Aguiar, Skerry.
Subs: Parkinson, Briggs, Pearson, Litterick, Mott.
AFA: Gunning; Kumanova, Ahmed, Sarpong, Toscani; Jamaac, Ebelebe; D’Cruz, Strzala, Routledge; Gyasi-Tuffour.
Subs: Donor, Mubiayi, Barton, Ramadani, Martinez.
Match report by Jamie Spoor