Rye suffer cup final agony

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RYE United’s hopes of ending the season with some silverware were dashed when they were beaten 2-1 by Three Bridges in the final of the John O’Hara League Challenge Cup.

The Quarterboys made a bright enough start but never kicked on after a dominant first 10 minutes at the County Ground, Lancing, on Good Friday.

Bridges, who went into the game without several key players, looked to have opened the scoring on 19 minutes when Elliot Romain let fly from close range but his shot smacked off the arm of goalkeeper Josh Pelling and deflected over the crossbar.

Pelling was beaten, however, seven minutes before half time, Michael Death’s shot finding the back of the net after Rye had been caught out down their left flank.

Rye roused themselves and finally forced a save out of Bridges goalkeeper Simon Lockwood who comfortably gathered Jack Dixon’s 25-yard drive. Right on half time Pelling did well to tip John Gallagher’s dipping half volley onto the crossbar.

Rye levelled things up eight minutes after the restart courtesy of a dashing solo goal from Liam Upton who weaved his way past a posse of defenders before slotting his finish across the statuesque Lockwood.

Parity didn’t last long because just three minutes later Gallagher dinked a neat ball into the run of Romain who held off the attentions of Jono Richardson and lifted his finish over Pelling and into the far corner of the net.

Rye tried to get back into the game but only occasionally threatened an equaliser. The closest they came was a Duncan McArthur 25-yard piledriver which thumped against the crossbar with Lockwood appearing to get the merest of touches.

Matt Maclean and Dominic Clarke both got their heads to a couple of crosses but neither could really be described as a genuine opening as Bridges deservedly lifted the Sussex County Football League’s premier knockout trophy.

Rye (4-4-1-1): Pelling; Radley, Richardson, Rose (Woodley 60), Cole; Ellis (Leach 69), Dixon, McArthur, Maclean (Clarke 90+2); McArthur; Ramsay. Subs not used: Franklin, Watson.

Bridges (4-4-2): Lockwood, Carden, Brake, Howard, Bates, Faber (Keaney 90+3), Dugdale, Donaghy, Death (Maxwell 82), Romain, Gallagher (Grant 65). Subs not used: Smith, Hawthorne.

Referee: Daniel MacKnik.