The Sussex Community Shield in aid of the Sussex Disability Football League is due to take place on Wednesday 2 August 2023 between Worthing and Broadbridge Heath.
Worthing vs. Broadbridge Heath
Sussex Community Shield in aid of the Sussex Disability Football League
Date: Wednesday 2 August 2023
Venue: Sussex County FA HQ, Culver Road, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 9AX
Last season was one Broadbridge Heath fans won’t be forgetting in a hurry, with the club achieving promotion after being crowned champions of the Southern Combination Football League (SCFL).
“Yeah, it was a great campaign for the club, and one we’re all proud of,” said manager Chris Simmons.
“Though of course the celebrations were cut short as soon as we knew how much work we needed to do to be ready come the start of pre-season!
“But of course, it’s a really exciting time for the club, and everyone’s just buzzing to get going again.”
Indeed, off the back of such a successful campaign, Simmons and the rest of his coaching staff wasted little time committing themselves to the club for another season.
“Promotion was always the target last season, and so to achieve it in the way we did meant that when it came to that decision it was simply a case of just asking ourselves what’s the next goal for this club and planning how we can be a part of taking it there,” said Simmons.
With that in mind, pre-season is already well underway, with three friendly matches already played at the time of writing.
“We started with a game against Ascot, fresh off their FA Vase win last season, and considering it was the first time the lads had all played together, I was impressed with the standard of the performance, and thought we fully deserved our 2-0 win that day,” he said.
“Then next up it was off to Newhaven, and just like with the last game, we took pretty much a full squad of 20 with us, because overall squad wise I’d say we look very strong, and that was reflected in the 1-4 win we managed to come away with.
“Our most recent game though, against South Park, was certainly more of a challenge for the squad, considering they’re about level with us, and they’ve managed to retain a lot of strong players.
“We started the game by going a goal down, but then we got right back into it and started to create some good chances, but then unfortunately one of our players was shown a red card, which put pay to us overturning that deficit.
“But we’ve got a few more coming up, so the expectation is that all the boys will be sharp and ready to go come the start of the new season.”
Of course, with the challenges of competing in the Isthmian League South awaiting them this season, Simmons has been quick to bring in reinforcements.
“We’ve looked to bring in players with that Step 4 experience, so the likes of the centre forward Mario Quiasacca coming in from Sittingbourne, along with Jake Lindsey joining us from Hashtag United, who can also play across that front line.
“Then at the back we’ve brought in the likes of Lewis Scalley who was playing over in Australia, but prior to that was turning out for Crawley Down Gatwick.
“So all in all we’ve had a nice summers recruitment without having to do anything major to the squad in terms of restructuring it.
“Of course, we had some departures, with a lot of our fringe players being simply too good not to be playing regular football.
“But we’ve replaced them with strong players, and they’ve got that experience, which is going to be vital, because we had such a strong foundation last year, coming away with 23 clean sheets, so if we’re going to maintain our presence in this league, we’re going to need to show that same resolve.”
That kind of resolve is certainly going to be needed when Simmons’ side come up against Worthing, with Adam Hinshelwood’s side looking to build on a strong season themselves.
“Yeah, it’s going to be an interesting contest that’s for sure,” said Simmons, “obviously we’ll be at different stages in our preparation for the season, with ourselves coming to the end, and there’s very much still going.
“So, it’s hard to say what kind of side we’ll be facing come that Wednesday night, but they’ll know the sort of players we’ve got and what kind of test we’ll present to them, because we want to use this as an opportunity to show what we’re about going into the season.”
And speaking of, just what are Simmons’ expectations for the campaign?
“The key factor is staying in the league, but of course the main thing is to see that improvement over the season.
“A mid-table finish or a cup run would be brilliant, and saying that, I do think we’ll catch a few teams out, but at the end of the day we’re competing against bigger teams with bigger budgets.
“But this is the challenge we’ve worked hard to face, so hopefully come the end of the season we’ll have surprised ourselves!”
Entry prices for the final are as follows (cash and 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 Community Shield please contact:
T: 01903 753547