Newhaven U23s set for County Cup Final

On Wednesday 13th March, Newhaven U23s travel to Culver Road, Lancing to take on Eastbourne Town in the Sussex U23 Challenge Cup Final.

The two teams have met three times so far this season. Newhaven won the early league game 5-0 at The Trafalgar Ground through Ben Earle, Ollie Bradley, Charlie Gilbert, George Coltherd-Walls & Marley Ambler, before Town visited again in the Mind U23 Charity Cup, winning 2-0. A much changed Town team secured all three points in the reverse league game, Harry Colbran getting the only goal of the game in the second half.

Town’s route to the final started with a 9-0 thumping of Mile Oak, before winning 4-2 at Arundel. The goals continued to flow as Rottingdean were dispatched 6-0 in the quarter final. Town booked their place in Wednesday’s final with a 6-2 win at Peacehaven.

Newhaven’s route started in controversial circumstances. They visited Horsham YMCA and were on the wrong end of a harsh 6-1 scoreline, but YM were proven to have used a player who wasn’t signed on, an ex-Newhaven player playing under a false name nonetheless.

Having been given a reprieve, Newhaven took full advantage when they visited Hastings United. United were sitting in second place of the Bostik U23 League at the time, but a superb performance saw the Dockers knock them out, winning 4-3. Marley Ambler’s double, either side of Ben Earle’s header had given Newhaven the lead, but a George McCarthy wonder strike proved to be the difference.

Selsey were the visitors to the Trafalgar Ground in the semi-final, but came up against a fit again Callum Connor, who scored all three goals in a 3-1 victory.

U23 Manager Kieran Ridley believes his side are slight underdogs, but is relishing a close game against a team he calls “the best they’ve faced this season”.

“I think if you look at Town’s results since they freshened their squad, you’d say they were slight favourites, but there’s not much in it. The side we faced away from home was the best team I’ve seen this season. We had chances ourselves, but Town dominated us for long periods of time that night.”

“You can pretty much discount the 5-0 win we had against them at home – there are only a few players that were involved that night that are still with Town. There’s only a point separating us in the league so I’m expecting it to be a tough game, but we’ll prepare as best we can and see what happens!”

Kick off at Culver Road is at the slightly earlier time of 7:15pm, with entry to the game set at £3*.

*To be confirmed – information based on previous finals.

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