Hollington leave it late to lift Intermediate Cup
Hollington United won the Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup, in memory of Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, with a Dan Hull winner deep into extra-time despite going down to ten men, at Culver Road on Wednesday night.
In the battle of the first time finalists, substitute Hull broke the deadlock in the 109th minute only three minutes after Alan Foster had been sent off for a second booking. Upper Beeding had upset the applecart by knocking out the holders and league champions Rustington in the last four, but were unable to conquer another giant killing at the hands of the Hastings-based side.
United manager Scott Price admitted his side weren’t at their best, and said: “I wasn’t very impressed with our build up play, we were too ponderous and our decision making could have been better. But I thought we were quite a bit stronger than them, they came with a game plan and I don’t think anyone can argue that the better team won.
“The sending off helped us, they seemed to freeze and got caught between holding what they had or going for it a bit more, that gave us space and it wasn’t too bad a finish from a left-back on his right foot!
“It’s the biggest trophy you can win at this level, all that matters in a final is winning it so from that perspective I couldn’t be happier.”
Both sides had rattled the woodwork during the regulation 90 minutes in a slow burning encounter that finally sparked into life. Neither keeper was seriously tested throughout, but while it was Hollington that created more clear-cut chances, the Southern Combination Football League side had the game’s best openings fall their way.
Sam Gunn had a header saved by Elliott Stokes, Brad Hunt flashed a shot wide and was then involved once again when he fired off a post after neat hold up play from Kris Harding.
Beeding goalkeeper Darren Ford saved well to keep out Rich Martin and then came to his side’s rescue again as Hollington built up a head of steam. Veteran striker Dominic Clarke, impressive throughout, used his nous to wriggle free in the box but Ford was equal to his low effort and beat it away.
It looked as though Hollington had gone ahead eight minutes before the break, but in a precursor to the dramatic events at the Etihad, Jan Bailey’s header was ruled out for offside after lengthy discussions.
Hunt’s volleyed lob dropped narrowly wide at the other end, before Sean Ray - star of Hastings United’s 2012 FA Cup run - had a header cleared off the line in the 56th minute. Hunt looked most likely to find the winner for a Beeding side increasingly intent on contain and counter attack, and he went close again on 78 minutes.
He was put clear wide on the right but flashed his shot across goal and substitute Ryan Singers then fired over the bar with a speculative strike from distance.
Captain Danny Andrews hit the bar for Hollington, Ford saved from another substitute, Glenn Woodhurst, and then Kian Moynes went close in a flurry of extra-time openings.
After Foster was sent-off having scythed down Hunt, the lottery of penalties seemed almost certain. That was until Hull latched on to a loose ball in the box and rifled in beyond sliding defenders and the despairing Ford for what turned out to be the winner eleven minutes from the end of the additional half-an-hour.
(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: (Upper Beeding-Hollington United)
Goals: 0-1; Shots: 8-12; Shots-on-target: 2-4; Corners: 1-11; Fouls: 14-12; Offside: 2-2; Yellow cards: 5-3; Red cards: 0-1.
Upper Beeding: Ford, Johnson, Trower, Dermott, Donaldson, Gunn, Rowland, McGill, Angood, Hunt, Harding.
Subs: Singers, Beamish, Tewsley, Hayden, Knight.
Hollington United: Stokes, White, Ray, Andrews, McMinigal, Moynes, Foster, Martin, Bailey, Clarke, Tomlin.
Subs: J. Hull, D. Hull, Woodhurst, Corrigan, Kearley.
Match report by Jamie Spoor