LITTLEHAMPTON Football Club lifted the Sussex Community Shield on Tuesday evening after a stunning 3-0 win against Whitehawk.
A windy night at Culver Road, Lancing, saw the Sussex Senior Cup winners Whitehawk take on the Sussex County League winners Littlehampton and, having won the toss, it was three-divisions higher Hawks who asked Golds to defend against the wind in the first period.
Golds skipper Jon Hendrick was called into action after just 32 seconds as the lively Sam Deering shot from 18 yards. It was Littlehampton who had the next chance after a clever ball from player-manager George Gaskin found George Landais on the left-hand side of the box with a clear sight of goal but Craig Ross in Hawks’ goal made a smart save at his near post after four minutes.
Whitehawk centre-half Jordan Rose was allowed to chest down a corner in the 22nd minute but his subsequent volley found the base of a post rather than the back of the net and Littlehampton were grateful to Hendrick on 26 minutes when he saved well low to his right from another powerful Deering effort.
Landais caused problems down the left wing once more when he was allowed to run from halfway and force Ross into another good save at his near post on 26 minutes.
The best chance of the half fell to Hawks’ left-winger Scott Neilson as he latched on to an excellent through ball from Deering but the effort was well blocked by the onrushing Hendrick.
One felt that with the wind Littlehampton might offer more of a threat going forward but the first 15 minutes of the second half found Hawks camped in Golds’ half. However, bar a fantastic block by Josh Bates from a Danny Stevens effort four minutes into the half, Hawks failed to create any meaningful chances to show for their dominance.
So, it was against the run of play that Golds’ Ryan Bell robbed left-back Chris Sessegnon and curled the ball into the top corner with his left foot, giving Ross absolutely no chance from 25 yards a minute after the hour.
More dithering defending by the National League South side led to Littlehampton’s second as Gaskin buried from ten yards, once again giving the hapless Hawks keeper no chance whatsoever.
The 73rd minute saw Landais found by Peter Beadle on the edge of the area, with the frontman placing the ball precisely in the far left corner to seal a famous and well-deserved victory for Golds.
A delighted Gaskin said: “We set up knowing that they were going to have a lot of the ball and put us under pressure as they have ex-professionals in their side but everyone stuck to the job we asked them to do and deserves a huge amount of credit for that.
“I thought the back six, including Jon Hendrick in goal, were absolutely superb but it’s difficult to single out anyone after a team performance like that.”
LITTLEHAMPTON: J.Hendrick; Packer, J.Bates, McKay, D.Hand, M.Hand; Beadle, Janman, Bell; Gaskin, Landais. Subs: Wiggans (J.Bates 52), M.Bates (Bell 74), Hutchings (Beadle 90), McKenley-Burke, Askew.
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