Sunday Challenge Trophy HERO

Sussex Sunday Challenge Trophy Preview

Words by Girvane Bila
Hove vs. BN Dons Reserves

The final of the Sussex Sunday Challenge Trophy is due to take place on Tuesday 14 March 2023 between Hove and BN Dons.

Hove vs. BN Dons Reserves
Sussex Sunday Challenge Trophy Final
Date: Tuesday 14 March 2023
Kick-off: 7:30pm
Venue: Sussex County FA, Culver Road, Lancing, BN15 9AX

Hove are currently enjoying a stellar season. They are on course for promotion to the Intermediate Division of the Sussex Sunday Football League (SSFL), sitting in second place with two games in hand.

Despite Hove being favourites for the final, manager Laurence Chandler warns against complacency as they aim to win their first piece of silverware this season, even suggesting players will be subbed off if they take their foot off the gas. 

“There is no complacency. I do not want anyone going out there thinking that this game’s already won. 

“Any team that is in the final is going to be a good team. Even if this team was in Division 8, it does not matter,” Chandler said.

“We need to approach the final as if they’re the best possible team we can ever play and go in for the win.

“I don’t want any of the boys going out there thinking we’ve won because if that happens, they’re being subbed off. I do not want anyone like this. We want to fight, and we want to win.”

It’s been a string of impressive results for Hove, who started their cup journey with dominating 7-0 win over Crew Club Hawks Athletic First back in November.

Their free-scoring form continued into later in the competition, with a 5-0 win against Horsham Crusaders coming in the Quarter-Final.

Indeed, these remarkable score lines are, in Chandler’s view, owed to Deon Ryan, who he went on to liken himself to back in his playing days. Ryan enjoyed a prolific 21/22 season with 18 goals and has impressed once again this season with five goals and ten assists so far. 

“I love him to bits, and he is like what I was as a player. His fight to want to win and win at all costs is what makes him a lot like me,” Chandler said.

“He has a mindset that encourages everyone and a presence that I had. When I played, I was always a presence.”

Their opponents on Thursday night, BN Dons, are also enjoying an impressive season, with the team currently sitting second in Junior Division Two of the SSFL.

Ahead of the game we spoke with BN Dons manager Tony Woods, who says his team are the underdogs going into the final, and thus are not fearing their opponents, or any team for that matter. 

“We don’t fear anyone, that’s not being boastful but we’re just concentrating on our team,” Woods said.

“We are not worried about the opposition. We are the underdogs, they are a league higher so we’re going to go into that game with belief, positivity, a will to win and a great friendship with all players who will die for each other.”

Of course, Woods is no stranger to a Cup Final at Culver Road, with his Real Rosehill side winning the Sussex Sunday Challenge Cup in 2016 and 2017, the very same competition the BN Dons first team won last weekend.

This season Woods is enjoying a terrific debut campaign with BN Dons, having already clinched his first piece of silverware after beating B Town for the Divisional Cup in mid-February. 

According to him though, it was a 3-2 loss to The View that ignited their season. 

“If we go back to mid-October when we lost a game, when we were 2-1 up against The View, and we lost 3-2; since that game, we haven’t looked back. 

“We have been unbeaten in 14. That defeat made us need to look at ourselves and the mistakes we made. 

“We looked at how we can improve ourselves, and we picked ourselves up, thus going on an incredible run since losing that game.”

Entry prices are as follows (Cash and Card accepted):

£7.00 Adult (17+)
£5.00 Concession (66+ and students with valid student ID card)
£1.00 Child (16 and under)
£1.50 Official Match Day Programme

For further details about the Sussex Sunday Challenge Trophy please contact:

T: 01903 753547

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