On Sunday 7th April, Newhaven U18s completed a historic double, adding the SCFL U18s Challenge Cup to the league title they had won fourteen days previously.
Marley Ambler opened the scoring in the first half as his low strike evaded Tom Barden in the AFC Varndeanians goal, and Henry Carey doubled the advantage soon after with a half volley, nestling in at the far post. Goals with a personal touch for both players having joined Newhaven from V’s in the summer.
Luke Gilligan’s late goal sealed a superb victory for the Dockers as they become the first Newhaven U18s team to complete the double.
Joint-manager Kieran Ridley couldn’t hide his delight at the victory, and praised the work rate of the players.
“We knew we would have to work hard in this game. V’s are the only team to have beaten us in the league this season and they did that by out-working us in every area of the pitch.
“Preparations were really good though, we were able to get the lads in to train twice and do a bit of video analysis work form the previous fixture, so we knew what to expect and we worked harder than I’ve seen us work all season. It’s testament to this group that they’ve won the double. We’re absolutely delighted and extremely proud of each and every one of them.
“As the Under 23s manager as well, I’m proud of how many of them have represented both the U23s and the first team this season, that’s where the true judgement comes in. That being said, you cannot beat lifting a trophy.
Fellow joint-manager Lee Robinson echoed Ridley’s thoughts and praised the players’ work rate and ability to respond to setbacks.
“All season we have told the players that our job as Under-18 managers and coaches is to help progress them through the club in to the senior teams. However, if we can do it as winners as well, then it’ll be even better.
“These lads know how to win games. They have found different ways to win all season and the cup final victory was our ninth in a row, in all competitions, since the turn of the year.
“At times this season we’ve had to question the players – their attitude and mentality – but every time they have responded, and winning this cup is due reward for the hard work they have put in.
“We prepared as well as we could – including training twice – and the players carried through what was asked of them against a tough opposition in AFC Varndeanians. We worked hard on the day and thoroughly deserved to lift the trophy. Marley Ambler was given the man of the match for his goal and two assists, but, to a man, everybody put a shift in.
“We have some quality players in this group and I have no doubt you will be seeing more of them over the coming years.
“For now, though, we have one more game coming up in a couple of weeks and the chance of a treble which would complete an already exceptional season.”
Read the match report from Brian Henderson here: http://www.newhavenfc.co.uk/match/9196/
And view photos courtesy of Steve Mills here, https://www.stevemillsphotography.co.uk/Football-201819-Season/Newhaven-U18-v-AFC-Varndeanians-League-Cup-Final-070419 and from Ian Robinson here https://www.flickr.com/photos/157407655@N06/albums/72157704597908902