Sussex County FA Under-18s Representative Squad vs. London FA

New look Sussex continue winning habit

London 1 - 6 Sussex

Sussex County FA Under-18s started their defence of the South East Counties Youth Championship with a dominant display against London FA on Sunday 7 October 2018.

There was a fresh look to the Under-18s, with Jay Lovett and Gary Mansell taking charge for the first time, alongside Tom Atkinson, Dan Rose and Terry Gaunt.

The new team settled quickly, and were immediately on the front foot. The first chance came after just two minutes, with captain Luca Cocoracchio clipping the ball forward to James Beresford and he crossed for James Waters whose shot was saved.

A goal looked like coming, and soon followed as Josh Gould and Waters combined nicely on the right wing, with Gould finding his way into the box. He dragged the ball onto his left foot, and slotted past the keeper with ease to give Sussex the lead after just five minutes.

Sussex continued to threaten with every attack, with Gould again causing problems. He combined with Waters who had another strong shot well saved.

The first chance for London came on ten minutes, when Jallim put a free-kick over the bar.

Soon after, normal service was resumed for Sussex when a corner from Dan Blackmore was headed over by Dylan Jelly. Andrew Briggs then had a powerful free-kick saved, with the rebound put in only for it to be disallowed for offside. Darius Goldsmith then slid through Jasper Pattenden, and his shot was drilled wide.

Quarter-of-an-hour past and London grabbed an equaliser against the run of play. Sussex were trying to play out from the back, but the ball was intercepted high up the pitch, Jallim was played through and his shot slipped under Mitch Bromage in goal to score.

London seemed buoyed by the goal, and had a further chance when Jones had a shot well saved by Bromage.

Mid-way through the half, Sussex reinstated their authority, and controlled the game. Briggs crossed for Waters who deflected a shot over. Beresford worked his way into the box but scuffed his shot wide.

London hit the bar from a free-kick from Jallim on twenty five minutes, but Sussex continued to create numerous chances at the other end. Gould had a free-kick of his own that clipped the top of the net, and then had a further shot arrowed wide after cutting in from the right wing.

Close to the half-time mark, Sussex re-took the lead when Pattenden was fouled in the area. Waters stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to score the penalty.

Two minutes later, Sussex extended their lead when Pattenden retrieved the ball and crossed accurately for Gould to score again.

Sussex added another, their third in a crazy five minutes, when Briggs powered through midfield and then composed himself to curl a magnificent shot into the far corner.

All that action meant Sussex took a 4-1 lead into the half-time break. 

The domination for Sussex continued in the second-half, although fewer chances were created. Briggs sent over a free-kick and Jelly headed over at the back post, early in the half.

Briggs, with his unique style from free-kicks, had another one which was powered just over the bar. 

Pattenden was now more in the game, and had a half-volley on fifty-four minutes that went over, and a further effort two minutes later that was well saved by Kemp in the London goal.

Sussex showed true class with a terrific team counter-attack on sixty-three minutes. Bromage caught a corner, distributed to Cocoracchio down the right, he played through Fin Pittock, who had two touches before squaring for Pattenden to tap in from six-yards out. A great goal. 

With fifteen minutes remaining, two substitutes combined, when Pittock crossed for Alfir Haggar, who hit the post with his effort.

As we moved into the final ten minutes, Sussex didn’t relent in their quest for more goals.

Pattenden got the ball to Haggar in the box, but he shot over when well placed. Pittock then followed this as he created space for himself in the channel, and curled a shot which was well saved.

With three minutes left on the clock, Sussex capped off a fine victory as Pattenden drifted in-field, played a ball through to Briggs, who had advanced from central-midfield, and he rounded the keeper to score with ease.

That made it 6-1, and a well-deserved victory for Sussex in a game they dominated. Jay and Gary are already starting to imprint their identity on the side, and the players seem to be buying into their philosophy. There are still areas to improve upon, but the basics are there, and the team is full of quality.

(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)

Stats: (London-Sussex)
Goals: 1-6; Shots: 4-26; Shots-on-target: 2-16; Corners: 2-5; Offside: 2-2, Yellow cards: 3-1, Red cards: 0-0.

London: T. Kemp, H. Kemp, Deen, Marus, Clark, Jones, Matheson, Gbotta, Jallim, Sewell (c), Korkmaz.
Subs: Watson, Gordon, Garcia, Chandhary.

Sussex: Bromage, Blackmore, Beresford, Briggs, Cocoracchio (c), Jelly, Mthunzi, Goldsmith, Waters, Pattenden, Gould.
Subs: Harper, Stilgoe, Pittock, Addy, Hager.

Match report by Ollie Powell