AFC 2015 winners of the Sussex Sunday Challenge Cup

AFC 2015 retain Sussex Sunday Challenge Cup

AFC 2015 2 - 0 AFC Aymer

AFC 2015 won the battle of the two AFC’s, with no love lost as they played out a bruising encounter on Valentines evening at Culver Road.

The 2-0 victory over their AFC Aymer counterparts, thanks to goals from Gary Rook and Max Jeffery, means AFC 2015 keep the Sussex Sunday Challenge Cup, sponsored by Gardner & Scardifield, in their possession for another season.

AFC Aymer’s Gary Anderson picked up a caution with barely ten minutes on the clock for kicking the ball away in frustration, as the game went from end to end without either side really breaking the other down.

There were notable solid displays from AFC 2015’s Sam Hodgkins and Aymer captain Nathan Bowen as both defences looked to be on top.

The opening goal came from the penalty spot on twenty minutes, after the lively Jeffery was scythed down in the box. Rook stepped up and calmly sent AFC Aymer goalkeeper Tom Bradford the wrong way, as he dispatched the spot-kick into the left corner of the net.

Rook was in on the action again on the half-hour mark as he tried his luck from distance with a speculative half-volley that was well dealt with by Bradford in the Aymer goal.

Aymer had their first notable chance of the game five minutes before the break, when an in-swinging corner caused confusion in the six-yard box, and lead to Jeffery heading clear off the line to preserve his sides lead.

James Walker had arguably AFC Aymer’s best chance of the game, on sixty-five minutes, and it was all his own work. He cut in from the right-side and did well to create space for himself in the box, waltzing past a few challenges before fizzing a shot toward the near post which Nathan Welch in the AFC 2015 goal had to alert to in-order to tip it around the post to safety.

That save proved crucial as just over five minutes later AFC 2015 doubled their lead. In a rare moment of quality Omar Sattar played a perfectly weighted pass down the right channel for Brad Tighe to square into the box for the waiting Jeffery to tap in past a helpless Bradford.

AFC Aymer never looked like recovering from that hammer blow, and their chances of getting back into the game were only hampered further as Dave Best picked up two yellow cards in the space of ten minutes, and Anderson was given his marching orders after picking up a second yellow in added time, reducing his side to nine men.

After the match AFC 2015 assistant manager Sledge Jeffery said: “We weren’t at our best, but they gave us a game today, give them their due. They are a good side, they are better now and have improved throughout the season. But at the end of the day we’ve ground them out, and I think we were worthy winners in the end.”

AFC 2015 lifting the Sussex Sunday Challenge Cup
HIGHLIGHTS - AFC 2015 vs. AFC Aymer
Watch full highlights of the Sussex Sunday Challenge Cup Final between AFC 2015 and AFC Aymer.

(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: (AFC 2015-AFC Aymer)
Goals: 2-0; Shots: 12-4; Shots-on-target: 7-2; Corners: 7-5; Fouls: 13-14; Yellow cards: 0-2; Red cards: 0-2.

AFC 2015: Welch, E. South, Rook, Hodgkins, Langford, Dickens ©, Jeffery, Gathern, Knee, Sattar, Shelley.
Subs: Matthews, Barton, Tighe, I. South, Rowe-Hurst.

AFC Aymer: Bradford, Pellett, Bowen ©, Amiet, Anderson, Joyce, J. Burton, Davies, Walker, A. Burton, Best.
Subs: Cameron-Waller, Wilson, Wingfield, Taylor.

Match report by Darren Ford