Clinical Sussex through to Semi-Finals
A scintillating performance from our Under-18s Representative Squad saw them storm into the semi-finals of The FA County Youth Cup after an eight-goal demolition of their Durham counterparts.
Having made the 400-mile trip from the North East the previous day, the visitors were put to the sword with the game over as a contest by half-time.
Two goals from captain Dan Blackmore, a strike from Tom Chalaye, an own goal and another from Jay Popham saw Jay Lovett’s side race into a 5-1 interval lead. The relentless Sussex added a further three goals in the second-half to set up a trip to Devon in the last four. On this showing, Lovett’s men will take some stopping.
The tie undoubtedly hinged on the contentious dismissal of Durham’s Lewis Green in the fourth minute of the match. Jim Thompson’s visitors ended the match with nine men after substitute Liam Waters also received his marching orders for an off the ball incident late on - ending their afternoon the way it had started.
Manager Lovett said: “We knew it would be a tough game against a good side. Durham’s results in this competition before coming to us would tell you that and sides from the north east are usually strong.
“It’s testament to us that we rose to the challenge and put in an excellent all-round team performance. The early red card was the turning point, I thought it was harsh but I’m not a referee so I’m not going to comment any further.
“At 3-0 we got a little complacent so at half-time we spoke about pushing on and not letting the opposition back in, I wanted us to kick on and go and show what we’re about. The new formation we had worked well for us and Tom Chalaye was excellent having come into the side.”
On the semi-final, Lovett added: “Now we’ve got a nice trip down to Devon, we’re not thinking about the final. But it says a lot about this group and how far they’ve come. Another tough test against another good side down there but we’re looking forward to it.”
The early dye was cast with the dismissal of Green in the opening moments. His challenge on Chalaye looked merely innocuous with goalkeeper Jack Nicholson and a defender covering. Nevertheless, referee Joseph Stokes deemed that Green had denied Chalaye a clear scoring chance and sent him off.
From the resultant free-kick, Sussex went ahead when Nicholson repelled a Brad Santos free-kick but the rebound fell to Blackmore and he put it in.
Blackmore made it 2-0 six minutes later with a towering header and the floodgates opened as Chalaye then slammed in with a 20 yarder five minutes further on.
Durham pulled a goal back when Josh Croft seized on a loose ball out from the back and found Taylor Richardson to fire in under Taylor Seymour and give his side hope.
The Lewes stopper saved superbly from Stevie Johnson soon after, but the revival was to be short lived as James Beresford’s cross was inadvertently turned into his own net by the stretching Ben Milburn on 39 minutes.
Chalaye went close and Nicholson saved superbly from Fin Stevens before Popham made it 5-1 having linked up brilliantly with Beresford and Chalaye.
Ben Reay had a header cleared off the line for Durham but a ruthless Sussex side put further distance between the sides in the last half-hour. Santos scored from the spot after he had been scythed down by Nicholson, Olly Munt tapped in the seventh and Santos then completed the scoring and the rout with thirteen minutes left.
Substitute Waters was sent off for an off the ball incident with fellow replacement Tegan Freeman to compound a miserable day for demoralised Durham.
(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)
(Video highlights are available above and on YouTube - courtesy of Your Instant Replay)
Goals: 8-1; Shots 14-5; Shots-on-Target 10-2; Fouls 6-8; Corners 4-3; Offsides 1-1; Yellow cards 3-2; Red cards 0-2.
Sussex: Seymour; Beresford, Blencowe, Blackmore (C), Darienzo; Santos, Stevens, Honore, Munt; Popham, Chalaye.
Subs: Ramsis (Popham 58), Ward (Darienzo 62), Freeman (Beresford 68), Hewens, Mthunzi, Earl, Wright.
Durham: Nicholson; Black (C), Errington, Milburn; Aldsworth, Reay, Mitchell, Green; Richardson, Johnson, Croft.
Subs: Waters, Hurworth, Hindson (for Johnson, Mitchell, Richardson 68), Lamb, Kanyondo.
Match Report by Jamie Spoor