Action from Sussex County FA vs. Norfolk County FA

Sussex's Youth Cup hopes end after slender defeat to Norfolk

Sussex 0 - 1 Norfolk

A solitary Daegan Watts goal earned Norfolk a slender win against Sussex and saw them move a step closer to retaining their status as FA County Youth Cup holders. 

Gavin Lemmon’s side  beat Staffordshire in last year’s final and earned a place in the last four of this season’s tournament at the expense of Jay Lovett’s men. 

Norfolk made the 175 mile trip to Sussex County HQ for this quarter final tie and as the closing refrain of the boys in blue’s entrance music “Sussex by the Sea” drifted away on the wind, the visitors had already flexed their muscles as they unleashed the long throw prowess of defensive duo Sam Tinkler and Josh Ford. 

Dylan Gifford had an impressive game in midfield throughout for Sussex, and it was the Lewes man whom went close with the game’s first opening on seven minutes after James Waters cut inside and picked out Gifford. 

Connor Milligan in the Norfolk goal saved well before his opposite number Mitch Bromage was soon tested twice in as many minutes.

First, James Bemrose was released by Owen Murphy and saw his effort tipped behind for a corner then, moments later, the same player’s speculative and acrobatic effort from distance was pushed over the bar by the rapidly back-pedalling Bromage. 

Norfolk had started to wrestle the momentum away from Sussex and, after Jordan Forbes had fizzed a drive wide from distance, they took the lead on 22 minutes with what turned out to be the winner.

Watts burst clear down the left, drifted away from his marker and fired low across the advancing Bromage and in.

Cameron Wing rattled the upright having dispossessed Blackmore, but back stormed Sussex at the other end as they not once, but twice, came within inches of an immediate riposte.

Jasper Pattenden’s shot was blocked, the loose ball fell to Gifford but he too was also denied through a smart stop from Milligan on the rebound. 

Both keepers had become busy men as a slow burning contest belatedly sparked and fizzled into life. Shortly before half-time, it was the turn of Bromage of Burgess Hill to come to his side’s rescue again - the keeper was forced to tip over Murphy’s volleyed snapshot after the stopper had punched clear a free-kick moments earlier. 

Gifford went close from a free-kick after the interval and Milligan produced further heroics with a brilliant one-handed save to keep out the same player after he had linked superbly with Pattenden. 

Norfolk sub Karol Wengrzik almost sealed things late on with proved to be the final chance of the contest as Sussex’s quest for a second Youth Cup win was ultimately put on hold for another year.

Jay Lovett said: “This was a difficult game against the defending champions; they’re a very good side both with the ball and with their organisational tactics. 

“They are physical, strong and hard to break down. Their long throw in caused us problems to start but once we dealt with that I felt we managed to keep them quiet mostly.  I’m not fuming with the performance, it wasn’t a case of us not turning up but I cannot be completely satisfied as I felt we didn’t do enough.

“Their keeper made two very good saves in the second half, we put them under a bit of pressure but overall a tight game settled by a bit of quality. 

“Liam (Brady) did very well when he came on, Dylan (Gifford) and Josh Gould also impressed met, there were some good performances but it’s always disappointing to go out of a tournament. I wish Norfolk all the best in the next round.”

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

Stats: (Sussex - Norfolk)
Goals: 0-1; Shots: 13- 9; Shots-on-target: 7-5; Corners: 4-3; Off-sides: 1-3; Fouls: 11-13; Yellow cards: 2-1; Red Cards: 0-0. 

Sussex: Bromage; Bromage, Harper, Beresford, Mthunzi, Jelly, Blackmore (c), Gifford, Goldsmith, Waters, Pattenden, Pittock.
Subs: Gould, Brady, Rawlingson, Seymour.

Norfolk: Milligan; Milligan, Tinkler, Philpott, Johnson (c), Ford, Rich, Wing, Murphy, Bemrose, Forbes, Watts.
Subs: Lane, Upston, Lane, Gilding-Hewitt, Wengrzik. 

 Match report by Jamie Spoor.