10-man Hollington United triumph in county final

Hollington United celebrate winning the Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup. Picture by Simon Newstead
Hollington United celebrate winning the Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup. Picture by Simon Newstead

Hollington United Football Club clinched the Sussex Intermediate Challenge Cup for the first time in its history last night (Wednesday).

A 108th minute goal from substitute Dan Hull gave Hollington a 1-0 win after extra-time against Upper Beeding in the final at the Sussex County FA headquarters in Lancing.

That was despite playing the second period of extra-time with 10 men after the influential Alan Foster was sent-off for picking up two yellow cards.

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The pattern for the match became clear fairly early on. Beeding sat off, got bodies behind the ball, tried to make themselves difficult to break down and attempted to strike on the break.

The Southern Combination League Division Two outfit did a pretty good job of frustrating Mid Sussex League Premier Division high-flyers Hollington and carried a threat when they went forward, but Hollington will feel they were worthy winners.

There were few clearcut chances at either end during the first half, although Hollington had a goal ruled out for offside when Foster headed home Sam White’s inch-perfect cross from close range.

At the other end, Brad Hunt struck the inside of Hollington’s post during five minutes of added time having earlier sent a 25-yard free kick narrowly wide.

Hollington piled on the pressure during the first 20 minutes of the second period and were camped in Beeding territory for the most part.

Jay Tomlin shot just wide after a neat build-up involving Jan Bailey and Kian Moynes. Ricky Martin then saw a shot saved by Beeding goalkeeper Darren Ford following a good ball from Bailey.

Central defender Sean Ray is always a threat in the air at set-pieces, and he had one header nodded away from near the line by Beeding number 10 Drew McGill and put another header over the crossbar.

The goal that Hollington threatened wouldn’t come, however, as Beeding seemed to weather the storm and began to look dangerous themselves at times.

Hunt went close on a couple of occasions and substitute Ryan Singers went just wide of the far post with a great strike from the Beeding right.

It was Hollington’s turn to hit the woodwork in the 88th minute when Foster headed against the crossbar from a left wing cross by Moynes.

The first period of extra-time produced little incident until Foster was dismissed in the 104th minute following a foul just inside Hollington’s half.

Hollington landed the decisive blow, though, in the third minute of the second additional period. Left-footed left-back Hull popped up in the Beeding box to score with a low right-footed shot from 15 yards.

Hollington saw the game out comfortably thereafter to complete part one of a possible cup double in front of a sizeable contingent of their supporters in a crowd of 311.

Hollington: Stokes, White, McMinigal (D. Hull 79), Andrews, Ray, Martin, Moynes, Foster, Clarke (J. Hull 73), Bailey (Kearley 90), Tomlin. Subs not used: Woodhurst, Corrigan.