Hastings United win the Sussex Les Kempster Challenge Trophy

Hastings strike late to win Les Kempster Trophy

Words by Joe Williams
Patcham United 0-1 Hastings United

Hastings lifted the Sussex Les Kempster Challenge Trophy (Under-13s) after a last-minute winner saw them beat Patcham United 1-0 at Culver Road on Sunday morning.

A close and competitive game was played out in blustery and rainy conditions as neither team held back.

Hastings edged the contest and had the better chances throughout but, in the end, it was a last-minute own goal from an Elijah Shute free-kick that won them the trophy.

The game was preceded by a minute’s applause for our late President, Les Kempster who sadly passed away recently. The trophy in which the teams fought for was named after him in honour of the many services he had provided to youth football in Sussex.

When the game began there was a frenetic pace as both teams tried to get a foothold.

Patcham’s Ethan Hayes was causing trouble for Hastings, several times he picked up the ball in midfield and drove forwards. The only thing missing was a final pass as Hastings’ defenders managed to close him out each time. 

As the half wore on Hastings’ physicality started to gain them more control of the game. They were utilising the space down the wings with several crosses going into the box, but they were unable to find a Hastings head.

The one time they did, Freddie Williams stole in ahead of the keeper, but he was unable to direct the header towards the target. 

Patcham had their moments and looked dangerous on the break, Isaac Omoyini and Roman Blosse provided trickery on the wings, but they were unable to create any clear-cut chances to trouble Jones in the Hastings goal.

Hastings captain, Ollie Jones, was busy in midfield. His tenacity was putting him on the wrong side of the referee though. A lunging challenging saw him pick up a booking early on but he didn’t hold back, the referee blew for three more of his challenges before the half was out.

Just before half-time Hastings had a great opportunity to go ahead when Jones released the tricky Sonny Tyrell on goal, and he squared to Ben Bryan in the centre of the box. The striker took his time, and a recovering defender unbalanced him as he shot wide.

The best opportunity of the game so far went begging, but Hastings had shaded the half.

The second-half burst into life after a quiet and even first 15 minutes. It was Hastings who were the catalysts.

Bryan did brilliantly to work himself a chance, he held off his defender and dribbled into the box, but Frank Morgan made an excellent save in the Patcham goal, rushing out to meet him and divert the ball wide.

The chance gave Hastings a lift as a nice touch from Tyrell helped set up a counterattack, Bryan rounded the keeper, but the ball bobbled away, and the defenders were able to clear.

Rory Whelpdale then saved Patcham from going behind. A corner was cleared to the edge of the box where Ethan Parkin curled a shot towards the top corner, it beat the keeper but great awareness from Whelpdale saw him head it off the line.

Hastings looked the team more likely to find a winner. Morgan was again forced into action when an Elijah Shute free-kick was driven low through the crowded box requiring him to push the shot away from danger.

The winning moment came with one of the last kicks of the game. A free-kick 10 yards in from the halfway-line was driven in dangerously by Shute, the defender rose highest, but he could only get enough contact to help it on as it looped over the keeper an into the net.

Patcham had time for one last attack, good work from Graham on the right led to a left footed strike from Whelpdale but it just went past the post. 

The final whistle brought jubilation for Hastings players, while Patcham’s sank to their knees having lost the game in such a cruel fashion.

Hastings’ manager, Sean Ray, felt his team thoroughly deserved the victory:

“I thought we deserved to win, I thought we were the better team, and we created the better chances. 

“I said to the players at half-time to stay patient, be competitive and stay in the game. They did everything that we asked of them.

“We won a lot of first and second balls. We got our rewards and deserved the win in the end.”

Match Highlights
Patcham United vs. Hastings United - 23-04-23
Highlights of the Sussex Les Kempster Challenge Trophy Final (Under-13s) powered by Your Instant Replay.

(Video highlights are available above and on YouTube - courtesy of Your Instant Replay)

(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)

Stats (Patcham United-Hastings United): Goals (0-1); Shots (8-12); On target (1-5); Offsides (1-1); Fouls (8-11); Yellow cards (0-1); Red cards (0-0).

Patcham United: Morgan, Hoban, Graham, Omoyinmi, Mewett, Hayes, Bellucci, Blosse, Wauchope, Barnes, Hughes.
Subs: Stevens, Guilford, Whelpdale.

Hastings United: Jones, Corrigan, Banfield, Spiers, Bryan, Tyrrell, Jones, Parkin, Williams, Shute, Gunn.
Subs: Ryan, Roberts, Nason, Brady, Njie.

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