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.”