Wednesday evening saw AFC Varndeanians Reserves beat Cuckfield Town 1-0 to win the Sussex Junior Challenge Cup Final at Culver Road as 212 fans watched on.
Varndeanians started the game strongly with most of the early possession in the game as they looked to impose themselves on the pitch.
Cuckfield looked dangerous on the counterattack and were physical in their defending, which was reflected in the number of early fouls given away by James Ballantyne’s side.
Conor Carolan had the first meaningful chance of the game for Cuckfield but his effort fizzed over the Varndeanians goal.
Varndeanians went up the other end almost immediately with Matt Waterman on the counterattack before seeing his shot on goal saved by Mike Jones between the sticks for Cuckfield.
Cuckfield’s best chance of the half came in the 35th minute when Ashton Pettifer stole a march on his marker before firing a shot at goal, which was brilliantly palmed away by Eddie Cockcroft.
The Varndeanians custodian then sprang up instantaneously to deny Fin Dye on the follow-up to keep the score level.
A cagey first-half ended in a stalemate but not for the want of trying from either side but that changed soon after the second-half commenced.
Ruben Holliss’ side came out of the gates raring to go in the final 45 minutes and almost scored from a set-piece when Frankie Elliott came within inches of putting the ball into the back of the net.
However, the V’s didn’t have to wait long for their next chance on goal, this time coming from Waterman, who found himself in a bit of space 30-yards-out, and decided to have shot, which proved too powerful for Jones in the Cuckfield goal, who could only watch it nestle in the bottom corner.
Taking the lead brought an air of confidence to Varndeanians’ play while Cuckfield tried their best to regroup.
Town thought they had found a way back into the game when Rory Beard managed to divert a free-kick into the back of the net with a looping header. However, the celebrations were cut short by the assistant referee who had raised his flag for offside.