Hull’s haul sinks Newhaven’s Dockers
James Hull hit four goals to inspire his youthful Hasting United side to an impressive victory in the Sussex Under-23s Challenge Cup Final for the first time.
The result against the 2019 winners was never really in doubt from the moment Kian Moynes gave Andrew Brown’s ‘U’s’ an eight minute lead. The Dockers eventually sank without trace thanks to Hull’s heroics and Aaron Winser’s early second-half red card at Culver Road.
Hull has been on the fringes of the senior side - currently top of the Isthmian South East Division - and, on this evidence, will surely earn more chances to shine under former Brighton player Gary Elphick, currently player/boss of the first team at the Pilot Field.
He was certainly not alone in catching the eye as United wingers Alfie Peacock and Freddie Legg, another to have a crack at senior level, put Kieran Ridley’s side to the sword with string-pulling showings of pace and trickery.
Also in the United side was a name familiar to all associated with the east Sussex side - Ray. Namely Jordan, son of Hastings legend Sean, following in his father’s footsteps with an accomplished performance at the heart of the defence.
The first opening went the way of Hastings inside five minutes when Hull served notice of his intentions as his header was scooped behind by Newhaven keeper Dane Tasker in unorthodox fashion.
But the Dockers failed to heed that warning and the opener arrived only two minutes further on. It came in slightly fortuitous fashion as Moynes let fly with a 20 yarder, which Tasker probably would have saved if not for the deflection which took it beyond him.
Josh Silva-Carvalho had Newhaven’s first effort from a set piece before Legg flashed his shot across goal at the other end after a stunning solo surge down the right.
Moynes volleyed wide and Vardy should have done better with his header as a frantic passage of play concluded with strong hands from Tasker to deny the dangerous playmaker Moynes.
The Dockers were all at sea and found themselves further adrift within nine minutes shortly before the break. First, Harry Simmons found the onrushing Hull with a defence-splitting through ball and the no.9 held his run to stay onside and fire in a clinical finish.
He was at it again in the 44th minute - this time with a header - as he popped up from close range to nod in beyond Tasker having been picked out expertly by Peacock.
It seemed a damage limitation job from then on for Newhaven but Hastings were in no mood for mercy and added the fourth goal ten minutes into the second half.
Hull was given the chance to complete his hat-trick when Legg was scythed down by Winser in the box - and to add insult to Newhaven’s metaphorical injury, referee Kirk Ritchie had little option but to show the Dockers man a red card.
Hull duly did the rest from the spot to round off a ‘perfect’ hat-trick (left foot, right foot, header) and put the result beyond any lingering doubt, earning himself the match ball and man of the match award in the process.
Legg thumped a post and Tasker saved well from Peacock whilst Newhaven sub Harrison Faulkner tested Ben Cornelius with an excellent effort shortly after he had come on.
Hull tapped in his fourth and Hastings’ fifth and all that was left was for Vardy - the centre-back briefly moonlighting up top - to grab a late consolation.
Not only did Hastings take home the silverware for the first time, but Brown’s free-scoring side plundered 25 goals in only five Challenge Cup matches.
Brown was full of praise for his side, and said:
“We felt we haven’t done ourselves justice in this competition in recent years, so we really took it seriously this time and earmarked it as one we set our hearts on winning. Any team would want to win a county cup so I’m proud and delighted for the players.
“We’re top of our league at the moment after nine games and a game in hand, we beat 2nd-placed VCD on Monday so the title is definitely the priority now - the players are staying focused and gunning for the title.
“Winning is a habit and it’s important at any level in development football but part of my job is to guide the boys through the system and hopefully get them ready for the first team.
"A good few of these boys have featured for our seniors this season - Kane (Penn), Freddie (Legg), Harvey Greig, Harry Simmons, Jack Bates and James (Hull), so there’s a proven pathway for the players to step up.”
On James Hull, Brown added: “He’s so much more than simply a goalscorer, an out-and-out number nine. He can hold the ball up, link the play, work the channels and drop into midfield at times to start attacks. We’re lucky to have him, he’s a huge talent with a bright future ahead.”
(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: (Newhaven-Hastings): Goals (1-5); Shots (7-15); Shots on target (5-7); Fouls (5-5); Corners (3-7); Offsides (2-4); Yellows (1-1); Reds (1-0)
Newhaven: Tasker; Clark, Vardy, Jefferey, Nicholson; Piper, Winser; Rogers, Squires, Silva-Carvalho; Ambler.
Subs: Faulkner, Cornish, White, Torgersen, Patching.
Hastings United: Cornelius; Penn, Ray, Mapstone, Simmons; Moynes, Greig, Bates; Legg, Hull, Peacock.
Subs: Warren, Hoad, Walker, White, Lubanga.
Match Report by Jamie Spoor