Eastbourne Town Win Third Vets Cup
A first half penalty from Danny Simmonds sealed the win for Eastbourne Town as they won the Sussex Veterans Challenge Cup for the third consecutive time after defeating Mile Oak 2-0.
Eastbourne Town did not disappoint when striker Evan Archibald put them off to a great start after he produced a fine header from a great cross on the right hand side in the seventh minute.
Seven minutes later and Mile Oak could have grabbed an equaliser after Danny Curd’s lovely, placed header, saw the fingertips of Eastbourne Town goalkeeper Russell Tanner divert the effort onto the post.
However, things worsened for Mile Oak after Mehdi Ghavami-Shahidi appeared to handball Adam Davidson’s shot on goal resulting in an Eastbourne penalty and referee Darren Hall issued a red card to the full-back. Danny Simmonds calmly placed the penalty to the bottom right corner, sending opposition keeper Jake Smith the wrong way.
Despite the controversial red card, Oak was out quickly in search of a lifeline, and it almost came through after Chris Georgiou managed to pick Curd out with a sensational cross, but Tanner denied Curd for a second time. Eastbourne had the opportunity to make it three after Archibald drove past two defenders, only to unleash a strike that struck the post.
The second half saw Eastbourne manage the game superbly, dictating the tempo for the majority of the final. On the hour mark though, Mile Oak produced a fine move which led to Mark Allwright fouled in the penalty area. Referee Hall however did not give the penalty Oak desperately needed despite appeals from the players.
Into the last 15 minutes and Eastbourne had their finest chance of the second period after Archibald had another effort to grab his second when a swift break on the counter led to the striker’s effort fired wide.
Eastbourne Town manager Stuart Myall spoke of the unity and wonderful cohesion this team shares as they retained the cup once again.
“We only get together for this cup, and we’ve all been mates for years and we want to keep the run going,” Myall said.
“It culminates the season and makes it so much more special when we’re at Lancing on this pitch and the guys did really well.”
Myall also described how he motivated his players to win their third successive cup.
“I joked previously about getting a third star on our badge. We got a new kit this year with two stars on it, trying to pre-empt to get the third one so they are all joking now saying they got to get the third star,” he explained.
While Mile Oak manager Tony Burnett was pleased at the second half performance of his players, he could not help but feel that the red card for Ghavami-Shahidi was harsh thus saw the final lack any thrill.
“I am not sure about the penalty. I would like to see it back before I get in trouble. To me, handball is if you are saving it. He (Ghavami-Shahidi) has leant into it. I need to see it again, it is disappointing,” Burnett said.
“We have had some battles with Eastbourne over the years. We have had them four times. 7-5, 6-4, we beat them 7-6 so it ruined what could have been a cracking game. It just did not look like a deliberate red card offence to me, and it has killed it a little bit.
“We took a little while to get our shape. That was 16 minutes in, and we have kept it to 2-0 for the rest of the game so something to be proud of.”
(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: (Eastbourne Town-Mile Oak): Goals (2-0); Shots (21-6); Shots on target (6-3); Offsides (3-0); Fouls (9-9); Yellow Cards (3-2); Red Cards (0-1)
Eastbourne Town: Tanner, Simmonds, Dicker, Davidson, Manton, Sargent, Crabb, Denton, Cooper, Archibald, Browne.
Subs: Barden, Crowhurst, Guzicki, Wheatley, Dyer.
Mile Oak: Smith, B. Lovett, Ghavami-Shahidi, Loughlin, J. Lovett, Porter, Day, Rowe, Curd, Allwright, Georgiou.
Subs: O’Regan, Bradburn, Kilgarriff, Ransom, Head.
Match Report by Girvane Bila