BN Dons vs. A.S. Crawley HERO

Dons Delight over A.S. Crawley in Sunday Cup

Words by A. Ayush Chatterjee
BN Dons 2-0 A.S. Crawley

Sunday afternoon saw BN Dons beat A.S. Crawley 2-0 to clinch the Sussex Sunday Challenge Cup for the time at Culver Road as 114 fans watched on.

Crawley started the game strongly and enjoyed most of the possession in the early exchanges while the Dons remained resolute at the back.

The Dons switched up tactics to deploy a high press when out of possession but that left them open to counterattacks from a tandem of Leon Khan and Darren Helsdown. 

The Crawley duo combined well on more than one occasion but were unable to find the cutting edge to give their side the lead.

That was not the case for the Dons, who opened the scoring in the 37th minute with their first shot on target when Alfie Marchant was able to nod the ball in from close range after a well-worked corner routine.

Crawley would create three more gilt-edged chances through Khan and Helsdown, only to be denied each time by Tommy Yeates' heroics between the sticks for the Dons as the first-half came to a close.

Both the Dons and Crawley traded chances at the start of the second-half. 

Harley Damario fired a low shot that needed to be clawed out by Connor Overton in the Crawley goal just before Helsdown had another of his shots cleared off the line by Dons skipper Bradley Stevens.

However, Damario would not be denied in the 55th minute when he raced in from the right flank and rifled a low shot to catch Overton out at his near post and double the Dons' lead.

From there, it was relatively straightforward for Barber's side to restrict Crawley's attacks, despite the best efforts of the industrious Helsdown, who kept plugging away for a way back into the match for his side.

Crawley's Sam Lemon was forced off the pitch due to an injury as Helsdown continued to try and score a goal for Austin's side.

Unfortunately, that goal never came as the Dons managed the game well to seal a memorable win.

After the match, an ecstatic Barber shared his thoughts following a triumphant day out in Lancing for his side. He said:

"We knew the task we had ahead of us. I can't expect any more than what the boys gave out there.

“Every game has felt like a cup final this year but that... I've never felt anything like it, it was crazy!" 

When asked about his side's performance in the game and the manner in which they were won it, Barber said:

"Tommy (Yeates), our keeper, was just pivotal. He made six, seven, eight one-on-one saves. Without that, you can't win games. You can't without good keepers. 

“So, when we scored, we took the sting out of them and then we just dictated from there and it was our game to win."

His parting message to the fans who were loud and proud long after the final whistle was blown, was:

"This whole club, since the start in 2019, it has just been a family and whether we have got one or two teams, friends, family, partners and everyone else is just loud and always support the boys and create a great atmosphere at every game."

BN Dons A.S. Crawley YouTube
BN Dons vs. A.S. Crawley - 05-03-23
Highlights from the Sussex Sunday Challenge Cup Final, powered by Your Instant Replay

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

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

Stats (BN Dons-A.S. Crawley): Goals (2-0); Shots (20-13); On Target (5-8); Corners (5-1), Fouls (7-7); Offsides (7-5); Yellow Cards (0-2), Red Cards (0-0)

BN Dons: Yeates; Pullen, Stevens, Green, Green; Meehan, Marchant, Rudwick, Damario; Bilal, Goldson.
Subs: Pixley, Kladis, Lockwood, Cox, Martin.

A.S. Crawley: Overton; Maher, Larbi, Nicholls; Milborrow, Khan, Newman-Knott, Helsdown, Vincent; Lemon, Aljoe.
Subs: N'Jie, Harvey, Mekere, Mackrell, Lubega.

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