The first Semi-Final of the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup is due to take place on Tuesday 15 March 2022 between Horsham and Brighton & Hove Albion.
Horsham vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
Sussex Senior Challenge Cup Semi-Final
Date: Tuesday 15 March 2022
Venue: Sussex County FA, Culver Road, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 9AX
It’s the second of our Sussex Senior Challenge Cup Semi-Finals as Horsham battle it out with Brighton & Hove Albion to decide who joins Worthing in the final.
Hornets manager, Dominic di Paola, is used to a good cup run with his side but wants to ensure his players go into it with the right mindset.
“I'll be making sure the boys are as prepared as they can be and ensure they play the game, not the occasion. I've said that a lot this season because of the FA Cup run we had as well.
“When there's a lot at stake it's important to focus on your performance as opposed to who you're up against. I think that's a big issue for footballers at times, they can think too much about the game when they just need to focus on what they're good at.”
Horsham haven’t reached the final of this competition since 2006 where they lost to Lewes, at Priory Lane, and Dom is keen to put an end to the wait.
“It'll be massive for this club to get to the Sussex Senior Cup Final. The club hasn't had one for a long time, but we've come a long way as a club over the last five or so years.
“We're looking forward to it and it'll be a good challenge for us. I have no idea what sort of team they'll put out because I know they can pick from whoever they like!
“I'd expect nothing less than Brighton taking this very seriously and wanting to get to the final. That's part of their team's development. We've got one or two boys that used to be there, and they've all said it's something Brighton really push for.
“We want to be in finals and challenging things to keep growing as a club. It's a big competition and I like how seriously teams in Sussex take it.”
Dom is right to say that this is a competition Brighton take seriously, and Senior Development Coach, Shannon Ruth tells us why it’s key to their development.
“We're looking forward to it and it's a competition that, every year, we are extremely determined to do well in. The opportunity to potentially play at the Amex, for our young players, is a really good opportunity for them and a good experience.
“To have that reward at the end of the competition, it's really good for their development and we've always said that. It's a type of game they are not used to, and development is about challenging players to the best you can with a variety of experiences.
“If you can do that early on, it prepares them greatly for their first loan, their first first-team experience and the Sussex Senior Cup is certainly is one of those things we call upon for our young players to be challenged.
“The Premier League 2 has wonderful tactical and technical challenges but they wouldn't come across what they came across in the Eastbourne Town game, and in this competition.”
In regard to Horsham, Shannon has put his research in to the type of challenge they will possess.
“We know Horsham are in a decent run of form in a good place. We had a couple of games watched to give us some indication of what they're like.
“So, we're expecting a difficult game, no game of football is easy and the meeting before the game will definitely be around the need to compete and be at our best.
“Playing at Culver Road probably plays in our favour a little bit more than the previous rounds but we're still playing against men, senior players that have played a variety of different levels in the pyramid.”
Dom alluded to not knowing the sort of team Brighton would put out, well Shannon gave us an insight into what that might entail.
“Normally for us it's about where we are with our fixture list and how condensed that is but like with the Papa John's Trophy, where we play against men's teams, we look at the players between our Under-18s and Under-23s that have maybe not played in the competition before and whether it's a game they would benefit from.
“Like any game though, it needs to be a team that we believe wins the game. We certainly aren't going to just stick a young team out and not think about the result because we want to get to the final.”
Entry prices for the Semi-Final are as follows (cash & card accepted):
£10.00 Adult (17+)
£5.00 Concession (65+ and students with valid student ID card)
£3.00 Child (16 and under)
£1.00 Official Match Day Programme
For further details about the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup please contact Competitions:
T: 01903 753547