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.