20th March 2013 @ Stadium MK
Sussex travelled to Stadium MK for the final of the ESFA Inter-County Cup in confident mood after a superb away win against Merseyside in the semi-final. Pre-match preparations and the journey up were good, and Sussex started the game brightly. However, the first chance of the game fell to Cleveland after 5 minutes. A soft free kick conceded by Sussex in the midfield area was whipped into the box and found the Cleveland centre forward unmarked, but fortunately for Sussex his header hit the post. After this let off, Sussex controlled possession and created good opportunities through the creative wide play of Ryan Fergany (Worthing College) and the relentless front running of Ollie Pearce (Chichester College). Cleveland were sitting back and playing on the counter attack, and this tactic nearly worked twice before half time, but for a good save by James Binfield (Worthing College) and a last ditch tackle by Joe Kay (City College Brighton and Hove).
Sussex continued where they left off after the interval and dominated possession and created a host of chances. Jack Barnes (Worthing College) and Ollie Pearce both headed wide from more good play from Fergany, and Greg Luer (City College) also fired wide. So, the game moved into extra time, with the pattern of play the same. Patient passing from Sussex was being met with determined and resolute defending from Cleveland. Sussex continued to dominate and their pressure finally paid off with 5 minutes to go in extra time. Rilwan Olugobode (St Bedes), picked the ball up from a throw in on the left hand side, shrugged off his marker, jinked past two more tackles before firing a powerful shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box to give Sussex a 1-0 lead. Sussex nearly extended their lead moments later but Jordan Stubbings (Shoreham Academy) saw his shot from inside the box just flashed wide. Sussex comfortably saw out the last few minutes to seal victory. The man-of-the-match performance went to Ollie Pearce for his tireless running and constant goal threat. There were also big performances from midfield pair James Vaughan (Bexhill College) and Jack Barnes, as well as centre backs Will Miles (Varndean) and Gani Nuredini (Ardingly College).
Joint Manager Luke Hampton “It was a superb team performance against a very well organised team. We are delighted with the way we stayed patient and kept passing. Eventually we took one of our opportunities and got the victory we deserved. We are very proud of the achievement from all the boys involved this season”.
Joint Manager Dave Hall “To a man the boys were excellent today. They were intelligent in their play and kept going, even when the Cleveland defence stayed strong. The boys have worked hard all season to develop their game intelligence against quality opposition, which in turn has created an excellent team spirit, and this has given this group of players some great experiences and memories that will live with them throughout their future careers. Luke and I are extremely proud of this group and thoughts must now be turned to next seasons recruitment so that we can have a good go at retaining our title.”
J. Binfield; C. Gayler, J. Parazo (60), W. Miles, J. Kay; R. Fergany, J. Vaughan (c), J. Barnes, G. Luer (75), J. Adekunle (110); O. Pearce
G. Nuredini (60), Olugobode (75), J. Stubbings (110) G. Gander, A. Saunders.