Patcham weather strikers storm to lift trophy
A magnificent hat-trick from Luca Allen won Patcham United the Sussex Les Kempster Challenge Trophy (Under-13s) at the expense of ASC Strikers in blustery conditions on Sunday morning at Culver Road.
The Patcham number nine ended his eight-year stint with the club with a marvellous performance as Patcham won the trophy for the first time in their history. ASC captain Harry Lee’s brace wasn’t enough to spoil the Patcham party in what was a thrilling encounter.
A tight opening 20 minutes saw chances at both ends of the pitch, but nothing to trouble the keepers. Patcham struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities as the ASC defence held firm, but a defensive error allowed Allen to nip in before he was cynically taken down in the box. The forward powered home the resulting penalty to give Patcham the lead after 19 minutes.
Only three minutes later, Patcham spurned a brilliant chance to double their lead, as Callum Hall’s effort was cleared off the line by Charlie Fogden, before his follow-up fell kindly for ASC keeper Sam Lomas.
But as ASC began to press for an equaliser near the end of the first-half, Patcham doubled their lead in the 34th minute in bizarre circumstances. Taylor Edwards’ free-kick from his own half found Allen, whose outside of the foot effort eluded Lomas before finding its way into the bottom corner. An incredibly deft finish from the forward leaving the keeper totally flat footed, as Patcham went into the break two goals to the good.
15 minutes into the second-half, ASC were rewarded for their pressure as Lee nicked a goal back. Danny Kingston’s corner found the Strikers’ captain, who met the ball with a powerful header to give ASC a lifeline. But only seven minutes later, Allen completed his hat-trick, as he brought down Harrison Lawes’ lofted ball before slamming home a low effort into the far corner to restore Patcham’s two-goal lead.
As the game drew to a close, ASC failed to make any clear inroads despite their constant pressure, and Patcham seemed comfortable to sit through to the final whistle. But only one minute after hat-trick-hero Allen was subbed off to terrific applause from the crowd, Lee fired a volley into the far corner to claw ASC back into the game in the 68th minute.
But the Strikers couldn’t take advantage of five minutes of injury-time as Patcham held on for the win. Jubilant scenes at the end for Patcham after an enthralling final, and a fitting way for manager Phil Knight and coach Darren Cheverton to end their time with the club. Sunday’s match marked their last game in charge of the team, as both coaches and several Patcham players step down on a high.
After the game, Patcham United coach Darren Cheverton said: “When you’ve got Allen up front, no matter who you’re playing, you’ve got a chance. If he played like that every week, we’d probably win the league!
“To get here was a lovely way to finish, to win it is beyond anything we could even dream about. Teams break up and move on, it’s just the natural cycle of things. There’s no sadness, it’s a really positive thing. We were especially pleased for Phil [Knight]; the boys couldn’t have wished for a better first manager. He’s worked so hard and just been brilliant with them.”
(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: (Patcham United-ASC Strikers)
Goals: 3-2; Shots: 11-10; Shots-on-target: 10-5; Corners: 3-5; Fouls: 6-15; Offsides: 0-1; Yellow cards: 0-0; Red cards: 0-0.
Patcham United: Gates, Pratt, Bartlett, Rollinson-Payne, Edwards, Sass, Cheverton ©, Naylor, Hall, Lawes, Allen.
Subs: Westwood, Knight, Field.
ASC Strikers: Lomas, Goff, Kingston, Weber, Williams, Roberts, Fogden, Blair, Lee ©, K Nandhra, J Nandhra.
Subs: Green, MacDonald, French, Rigby, Pigatto.
Match report by Ben Knapton