Sidley United Winners

Sidley survive late fightback to lift Intermediate Cup

Jarvis Brook 1-2 Sidley United

Sidley United completed a stellar season with a league and cup double after Charlie Cornford and Paul Rogers fired them to cup glory at Culver Road.

In a showdown of the East Sussex high flyers, Mid Sussex Premier champions Sidley added the Intermediate Cup to their trophy cabinet but condemned County League side Jarvis Brook to a brace of the unwanted kind. 

Ed Handford’s side finished runners up to Rustington in their league campaign and suffered the same fate here despite a late surge which almost saw them force extra-time. 

In truth though, Sidley fulled merited their victory, a sentiment echoed by their manager John Carey. He said: “We made it hard for ourselves in the second half and it got a bit hectic towards the end. But we had enough chances to kill it off, we hit the upright and had a couple of one on ones so there’s no question we deserved the win.

“The league was the number one priority, we set out to win the title and we’ve done that but winning the cup is the icing on the cake as well. 

“I’m very proud of the players, a lot of them have played at a higher level so we trust them and believe in them, they buy into what we’re trying to do.

“We’ve managed to keep mainly the squad together over the past couple of disrupted years which have helped us and the result has been an excellent season. Winning the double at this level is the best you can do so you can’t really ask for more can you?”

The first opening of the contest went the way of Jarvis Brook, with impressive winger Charlie Bastin at the heart of things early on. He burst clear down the right and teed up the onrushing Liam Edwards, but Daniel Hutchins got down well to save. 

Much-travelled midfielder Lee Carey flashed an effort wide for United, before Charlie Baitup tried his luck from distance at the other end only to see what would’ve been a goal of the season contender curl inches off target. 

Neither goalkeeper had much to do but, in the 34th minute, Brook’s Matthew Harman sprung into action to prevent the opening goal. More by luck than judgement, Louis Walker’s cross/shot looked to have caught out the keeper and loop in, but Harman’s strong reflexes tipped the ball to safety.

The reprieve only proved temporary though with Harman beaten in a far more conventional fashion 90 seconds further on. The ball dropped kindly for Cornford inside the box, he pulled it down, spun his marker and fired in a finish from close range.

If the first half had resembled a chess match with both combatants waiting for the other to make their move, the second was more akin to a heavyweight boxing bout. Sidley threw the first punch when Tyler Capon struck the bar on the angle in the 48th minute, and then looked to have dealt a knockout blow ten minutes after the restart.

Top scorer Paul Rogers was the man on the end of it as Danny Ellis picked him out with a pinpoint pass and he controlled the ball to smash beyond the helpless Harman for his 22nd of the season.

Sam Sales steered a header wide, Jake Broomfield’s ball across goal agonisingly flashed wide whilst George Holman went close with a header at the other end.

With their small but vociferous group of travelling fans sparked into a frenzy, Jarvis Brook made the most of their brief spell in the ascendancy to set up a grandstand finish. Edwards deep, inswinging free-kick was surely intended as a cross but instead evaded everyone - including Hutchins - and found its way in on 69 minutes.

But the expected siege never quite materialised and, indeed, it was Sidley who had the better chances in the closing stages. Carey’s effort cannoned back off the upright as the clock ticked down and Rogers could have put the result beyond any lingering doubt with a header.

Edwards almost conjured up a leveller when his pace saw him burst clear and race through on goal but his low effort bounced off the post - the woodwork rattled for a third time - and out of play. Extra-time would have been harsh on Sidley as - despite six added minutes - they saw the game out to lift the prestigious trophy for the first time in 74 years ahead of a potential return to the County League.

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Jarvis Brook vs. Sidley United - 27-04-22
Full highlights of the Sussex Intermediate 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: (Jarvis Brook-Sidley United): Goals (1-2); Shots (9-14), On Target (4-5); Corners (2-1); Fouls (10-9); Offsides (2-1); Yellow Cards (1-3); Red Cards (0-0)

Jarvis Brook: Harman; Broom, Baitup, Sales, Penfold, G.Holman, F.Holman, Broomfield, C.Edmunds, Edwards, Bastin.
Subs: Chapman, Lorimer, Lambden, MacKellow, S.Edmunds.

Sidley United: Hutchins; Featherstone, McEniry, Elliott - Noye, Hickman - Smith, Rogers, Ellis, Carey, Capon, Cornford, Walker.
Subs: N.Crabb, Cumming-Bart, S.Crabb, Clifford, McKue. 

Match Report by Jamie Spoor