Ruth eyes final return for Albion
The semi-final of the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup is due to take place on Tuesday 18 April 2023 between Brighton & Hove Albion and Bognor Regis Town.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Bognor Regis Town
Sussex Senior Challenge Cup Semi-Final
Date: Tuesday 18 April 2023
Venue: Sussex County FA, Culver Road, Lancing, BN15 9AX
For Brighton & Hove Albion manager, Shannon Ruth his side's achievement of reaching the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup semi-final once again, is one he takes great pride in.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have reached the semi-finals of this year’s Sussex Senior Challenge Cup, with one of our main objectives this season to retain the trophy,” said Ruth.
“The competition itself is an excellent demonstration of the healthy Non-League scene we have in Sussex, with the teams we face always testing us in different ways and ensuring that if we want to progress, we will have to be at our very best.”
Of course, whilst the odds would always have been in the Albion’s favor to reach the semi-final, there certainly were tough tests waiting for them along the way.
“We’ve had very different results throughout the competition this season,” said Ruth, “We’ve had to beat Three Bridges on penalties, net a last-minute winner at Burgess Hill and while a 3-0 scoreline against Littlehampton might make it look like a straightforward affair for us, it was anything but.
“In all of those games we’ve had a good mix of Under-21s and Under-18s involved, who have had to display that they’re capable of showing their abilities outside of an academy environment.
“The Sussex Senior Challenge Cup is always a great learning curve for our young players, as they come up against players who have been in the game longer than them and have good experience of managing a match.”
Indeed, for Ruth it’s the different test offered up by the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup that he sees as vital to drawing something different out of his young squad.
Away from the regularity of youth football, the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup has tested his side in ways that wouldn’t usually have been.
“That has personally been a highlight for me, as there have been times when we’ve had to really show our physical side and be brave on the ball when under real pressure.
“That only bodes well for these young players’ futures and the fact we’ve been able to progress through this competition means we’re showing what we’ve learnt from each game.”
Outside of another impressive Sussex Senior Challenge Cup run for his side, Ruth is also keen to stress the importance of the competition in balancing out the demanding league campaign the players are facing.
“In Premier League 2 we’ve really found form and that has come about despite us losing a number of key players in January who have headed out loan to EFL clubs,” said Ruth,
“That adaptability is what we’ve also had to show in the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup and has been another pleasing aspect of the season.”
Yet for the club, it’s the progression of those young players that they take the greatest pride in, and the way in which the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup sets them up for those next steps in football.
“Prior to those young players securing loans, this competition will have been one of their first tastes of coming up against a men’s team in a competitive environment,” said Ruth.
“If you look at the team that beat Worthing in the final last season, James Beadle, James Furlong, Ed Turns, Jack Spong and Todd Miller are all now playing in the EFL or Scottish Premiership and will have benefitted from the experience of playing in the Sussex Senior Challenge Cup as they came through the ranks with us.
“Andrew Moran was also in that team that won the final and made his Premier League debut for us in January, which highlights how much emphasis we put on this competition.”
Entry prices are as follows (Cash and Card accepted):
£12.00 Adult (17+)
£8.00 Concession (66+ 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:
T: 01903 753547