Hastings United U23 3-4 Newhaven U23 (HT 2-1)
Marley Ambler (32, 58), Ben Earle (51), George McCarthy (68)
Newhaven U23’s progress to the semi finals of the SCFA U23 Youth Cup with an excellent win against higher league opposition.
Hastings started the game well and were knocking the ball around at the back but they were finding it hard to create any real openings. Newhaven were happy for Hastings to have the ball at the back and then press and break with pace on the counter.
The opening goal came when a long ball from Hastings skimmed off Ryan Knight’s head, it fell nicely for their winger to play the ball through for their nippy striker to poke past the advancing Matt Cramp in the young Dockers goal, 0-1.
Newhaven almost got back on level terms when Marley Ambler beat the offside trap but he could only find the side netting when well placed.
Hastings got their second when a low cross from the left was swept home from close range, Newhaven’s offside appeals were ignored and the goal stood, 0-2.
It looked like it could be along evening at this point but Newhaven retained their composure and were soon threatening again, a quick passing move between Marley and Kyle Woolven released Ebou Jallow but his shot was well saved.
The Dockers then went even closer to halving the deficit when Ben Earle’s cross was tucked away by Marley, but the assistant referee’s flag cut short the celebrations.
Newhaven did get a goal back before the break though, George McCarthy’s quick free kick played in Kyle who got behind the Hastings defence and crossed to the far post for Marley to head home from close range, 1-2 at half time.
The second half started well for Newhaven as they began to take control of the match and they soon found themselves level, Kyle’s quick feet worked him some space and he was able to release Tom Watson down the right, Tom’s cross was headed home by Ben who had been left unmarked at the far post, 2-2.
The momentum had now swung firmly in Newhaven’s favour and it wasn’t long before they had the lead, Kyle’s corner was met at the far post by Marley who drilled the ball in from the edge of the six yard box, 3-2.
Minutes later Ebou’s towering header found Jack Whitmore who in turn played a ball through the Hastings defence, Kyle raced onto it and poked it past the advancing keeper but the ball rolled agonisingly wide.
Newhaven’s high tempo was causing Hastings problems all over the pitch now and the constant pressure soon led to another opportunity, a forced error meant the ball wound up at George’s feet and he curled a lovely left footer into the top corner to increase the Dockers lead, 4-2.
With just under 10 minutes remaining Hastings pulled one back when Newhaven failed to clear a corner, the loose ball was hammered home to make the final few minutes a bit nervy for the Dockers, but they held out fairly comfortably and deservedly progress to the semi finals, final score 4-3.
Overall, a great performance against a side currently sitting second in the league above and which included 3 first team players.
Next up is a trip to Eastbourne Borough in the league.
Newhaven: Matt Cramp, Oliver Bradley (Tom Watson 46), Ben Earle, Max Vardy, George Baker (Jack Todd 85), Ryan Knight, Jack Whitmore, George McCarthy, Marley Ambler (Callum Connor 75), Kyle Woolven (Aaron Winser 80), Ebou Jallow.
Unused Subs: Daniel Meekings
Booked: Ryan Knight