Eastbourne Town Lift the Trophy

Eastbourne Town retain Veterans Cup

Rustington 1-1 Eastbourne Town (4-5 pens)

Eastbourne Town successfully retained the Sussex Veterans Challenge Cup after a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Rustington at Culver Road on Thursday evening.

Greg Manton opened the scoring in the first-half to give Eastbourne Town the lead. Adam Bibb levelled from the penalty spot for Rustington in the second period forcing the tie into a shootout, where the unfortunate Dan Webb saw his decisive spot kick saved by the diving Jarek Guzicki to ensure the trophy returns to The Saffrons.

Rustington made a lively start to proceedings, winning a free-kick on the edge of the box that was comfortably dealt with by Town goalkeeper Guzicki. Jim Smith tried his luck with a lob that dropped just over the crossbar, and shortly after, Joe Cumber struck a low driven shot just wide of the post.

Eastbourne grew into the game and on 25 minutes, a great cross found Peter Cooper in the six-yard box, but the striker could only direct his header straight into the hands of a grateful Simon Clayton in the Rustington goal.

A little over 10 minutes later, Eastbourne broke away on the counter attack after winning the ball from a Rustington free-kick, Luke Denton darted into the box and squared to Chris Dicker but his right footed effort was well saved by Guzicki.

The three-time winners Eastbourne took the lead with virtually the last kick of the first-half, as Manton met an in-swinging corner at the far post to tap in from a few yards out.

Just 10 minutes into the second-half Eastbourne Town were given the perfect opportunity to double their lead from the penalty spot, but captain Danny Simmonds blazed the chance over the bar.

Rustington were awarded a penalty of their own soon after, and Bibb stepped up to coolly slot the ball into the bottom right corner to level the scores.

Both sides had a chance to win the game in the regulation 90 minutes. Joe Cumber’s curling effort was spilled by Guzicki but fortunately for him a teammate was on hand to clear the danger and spare his blushes. Steve Sargent then came close to winning the tie for Eastbourne with a volley that whistled just wide of the post.

The dreaded penalty shootout was required to find a winner, and with scores level at 4-4 after 5 penalties each, Dicker converted for Eastbourne in sudden death, leaving Guzicki to be the hero as he dived to his left to tip Webb’s penalty round the post and seal the silverware for his side.

Player/Manager Simmonds said after the game that his sides first-half performance was key: “It was really windy tonight, so in the first-half it was about getting to half-time in the lead, luckily we nicked one before the break so that put us in a really good position, and then happy with our goalkeeper who has been great all year to save the winning penalty in the shootout!”

Town video still
Rustington vs. Eastbourne Town - 12-03-20
Full highlights of the Sussex Veterans Challenge Cup Final powered by Your Instant Replay.

(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)

Stats: (Rustington-Eastbourne Town)
Goals: 1-1; Shots: 12-9; Shots-on-target: 7-4; Corners: 3-1; Fouls: 8-8; Offsides: 1-0; Yellow cards: 2-0; Red Cards: 0-0.  

Rustington: Clayton, Bibb, Curnow, Neal, Cumber, Green, J. Bennett, Morten, Smith, Weston, Boxall.
Subs: Webb, S. Bennett, Tucker, Mott, Challen.

Eastbourne Town: Guziki, Ducille , Barden, Simmonds, Denton, Cooper, Dicker, Holman, Sargent, Manton, Newnham-Reeve.
Subs: Browne, Myall, Ciupinski, Crowhurst, Wheatley.

Match report by Jack Bryant

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