Rudgwick lift the Sussex Bluefin Junior Challenge Cup

Rudgwick rumble JC Tackleway to win Junior Cup

Rudgwick 2 - 1 The Junior Club Tackleway

Rudgwick came from behind to overcome The Junior Club Tackleway in what was a cagey encounter as they claimed the Sussex Bluefin Junior Challenge Cup at Culver Road on Tuesday evening. 

A composed, ice cold finish from Kieran Grieg and an opportunistic finish from Mark Blick provided Rudgwick with the edge in the second-half after they had initially fell behind in the first-half courtesy of Tackleway striker Toby Payne’s distance strike. 

Rudgwick started the game with purpose as they looked to impose their fast-paced playing style against Tackleway, the Tackleway defence looked unconvincing as they tried to find their feet in the opening minutes of the match-up. 

The ball was threaded through to Greig who had started the game very lively, the forward was stopped in his tracks by incredible last ditch defending by Tackleway defender Dan Bone.

Grieg was once again on the end of a fantastic defence splitting through ball but couldn’t find his footing to be able to produce the cross or a shot at goal. The chances were coming but the finishing was not there. 

Tackleway who had started to impose themselves on the game almost slipped through the Rudgwick defence but Simon Lockwood managed to get a toe on the ball to snuff out the counter attack. 

With half-time on the horizon it looked as if we would have a goalless first-half but in the thirty-sixth minute Payne tried his luck from twenty-five yards and it looked like it would be a routine save for Rudgwick keeper Luke Burrows, but the keeper fumbled and found himself picking the ball out from his own net.

After the interval Tackleway tried to control the tempo of the game in an attempt to retain their lead, once again a long distance shot from Kale Williams was fumbled by the Rudgwick keeper but the defence managed to clear the danger.

Rudgwick grew into the game and were starting to gain some momentum; a close effort from Greig after breaking loose was a warning shot to the Tackleway defence.

A long distance strike from Tackleway playmaker Josh Eaton floated just over the crossbar, the midfielder very close to doubling the lead for his side.

Rudgwick came at their opponents with Graeme Sonsa coming the closest after he cut back on the left hand side to curl a ball which seemed destined for the far top corner only for it to cannon back off the crossbar.

The game opened up and Rudgwick were on the front foot searching for the equaliser, it finally came in the seventy-first minute after a poor clearance from Tackleway defender Nathan Smith fell kindly to forward Blick and he slotted neatly into the bottom corner.

Rudgwick did not have to wait too long for their second and what proved to be the game winner, Sosna who had been brilliant in the second-half played a sensational through ball to Greig who had perfectly timed his run and the forward rounded the keeper and slotted the ball into the back of the net.

Tackleway pushed for a route back into the game but Rudgwick stayed resilient and managed to hang on to lift the silverware for the second time in their history.

Following the match Rudgwick manager Ian Mathews said: “I told them to leave everything out there, who knows when we’ll be back, this is something that is so hard to get to the final of, and you can’t get to a point where you come back with any regrets and you saw by the second-half that we turned things around.

“I was beginning to think ‘oh my god’ are we going to get here but it was superb, the goal we scored would’ve been a penalty I think, and of course the second was an outstanding bit of play so in the end I’m very happy!”

Rudgwick lift the Sussex Bluefin Junior Challenge Cup
HIGHLIGHTS - Rudgwick vs. The Junior Club Tackleway
Watch Your Instant Replay's highlights of the Sussex Bluefin Junior Challenge Cup Final between Rudgwick and The Junior Club Tackleway

(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 Your Instant Replay)

Stats: (Rudgwick-The Junior Club Tackleway)
Goals: 2-1; Shots: 15-10; Shots-on-target: 7-4; Corners: 7-2; Fouls: 10-4; Offside: 1-1; Yellow Cards: 0-1; Red Cards: 0-0.

Rudgwick: Burrows, Pleece, Barnett, Baker ©, Lockwood, Thomas, Berwick, Healy, Greig, Sosna, Blick.
Subs: Kemp, Fletcher, Easton, Tunnell, Goddard.

The Junior Club Tackleway: Caister, Robinson, Morris, Bone, Olorenshaw, Bossom ©, D. Payne, Eaton, T. Payne, Williams, Fisher.
Subs: Chandler, Banfield, Smith, Adams, Felstead. 

Match report by Pulo Makaula