Sovereign Saints winners of the Sussex Bluefin Junior Cup

Sovereign Saints marched on to victory in County Cup Final

Whyke United 1 - 4 Sovereign Saints

Sovereign Saints marched on to victory and lifted the Sussex Bluefin Junior Cup after an entertaining tie against Whyke United that finished 4-1.

The Chichester-based side had taken the lead inside the opening minute, but Phil Broom’s double coupled with a brace from man of the match George Wheeler saw the East Sussex side hit back and claim the trophy.

Jamie Tucker’s Whyke side made a lightning quick start to the tie and took the lead with fifty seconds on the clock in a stunning opening salvo. 

There was an element of fortune about Louca Keenoy’s strike, as the ball was played to him from a corner and the midfielder’s looping cross-shot  floated over the back-pedalling Aaron Diddems from distance.

Broom, who had scored in every round in his side’s run to the final dragged a shot wide before Whyke skipper George Spawton rattled the crossbar from range with a free-kick. 

Keenoy went close again but Saints responded and, in the eighteenth minute, they were level through a free-kick of their own, courtesy of George Wheeler, who clipped his twenty-five-yarder over the wall and beyond the unsighted Hayden Massey.

Jack Haffenden poked a shot wide and Keenoy flashed an effort wide from distance, but Saints turned the game on its head on the half-hour mark as Broom continued his remarkable scoring record. 

The striker latched on to Jack Griffin’s through ball and despite a hint of offside raced through to fire a clinical finish in off a post from a tight angle for his thirteenth goal in six ties in this season’s competition.

George Sambrook flashed an effort across goal at the culmination of a sweeping Saints move, and Broom was then denied a smart stop from Massey as the Eastbourne based side came on strong.

The second-half continued in a similar manner, with Saints looking the more likely to finish their chances whilst Whyke being restricted to chances on the counter-attack.

Diddams saved well from Keenoy’s effort and Spawton hit the bar for a second time with this one being direct from a corner. But Broom effectively put the tie beyond doubt with a close range finish from a clever pass from Callum Jones who cut back for his teammate to put away in the fifty-second minute. 

Saints man of the match, Wheeler added late gloss to the scoreline when he linked up with Haffenden to score in the dying moments from a composed chip over Massey. 

Sovereign Saints manager Alan Dale said: “It took a little while for us to get going, the first fifteen-to-twenty minutes didn’t go to plan, and credit to them they put us under a lot of pressure.

“But once the equaliser came we were in control and with the attacking players we had I always felt we could hurt them. 

“In a cup final, it doesn’t really matter how you win, but to score four excellent goals having gone behind so early is very pleasing.”

Sovereign Saints celebrate winning the Sussex Junior Challenge Cup
HIGHLIGHTS - whyke United vs. Sovereign Saints 
Watch highlights of Sovereign Saints entertaining victory against Whyke United that finished 4-1. 

(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)
(Video highlights are available above and also on YouTube - courtesy of FilmMyMatch)

Stats: (Whyke United-Sovereign Saints)
Goals: 1-4; Shots: 10-11; Shots-on-target: 3-5; Corners: 4-6; Fouls: 5-5; Offside: 2-4; Yellow cards: 1-0; Red cards: 0-0. 

Whyke United: Massey, Varndell, Brockhurst, Keenoy, Clark, Cotton, Richardson, Spawton ©, Tucker, Jelly, Finch. 
Subs: Harman, Perry, Griffiths, Loe, Bircham.

Sovereign Saints: Diddams, Trumble, Murphy, Wheeler, Dunlop, Haffenden ©, Jones, Griffin, Broom, Sambrook, Wilding. 
Subs: Brindley, Callingham, Prodger, Taylor, Dale. 

Match report by Jamie Spoor