Cup defeat won't take away from our progress - Hand

Mitchell Hand. Picture by Liz Pearce
Mitchell Hand. Picture by Liz Pearce

Littlehampton Town’s Sussex Senior Cup exit will not halt their momentum in SCFL Division 1, according to assistant manager Mitchell Hand.

Golds suffered a 3-0 second round defeat at league rivals AFC Varndeanians on Monday to end any hopes of a date at the Amex at the end of the season.

Andrew Pearson, ex-Littlehampton man Scott Packer and Matt Waterman struck in the space of 15 minutes inside the opening half-hour to see Varndeanians through.

Interim manager Mark Bennett returned for an initial ten-game spell earlier this month and is now five games into his stint.

The two defeats Golds have tasted under Bennett have come in cup competitions, with Littlehampton picking up seven points from a possible nine in the league in that time.

Littlehampton had four of the starting team that secured an impressive 3-0 SCFL Division 1 win at Hailsham Town on Saturday cup-tied for the Senior Cup clash with high-flying Varndeanians.

For that reason, assistant manager Hand is not looking too much into the exit.

He said: “We went to Varndeanians with four of our starting 11 against Hailsham either cup-tied or missing, so I don’t think it’s a fair representation of our progress to be completely honest. Nevertheless after switching off for a 20 minute period, we actually had the better chances of the game and the scoreline was very flattering. We won’t let that take away from our progress though.”

Wideman Darren Boswell (two) netted his first goals since returning to Golds in the win at Hailsham.

Hand was also on the scoresheet in the impressive 3-0 away triumph and wants the squad to build on that performance.

He added: “The win at Hailsham was massive, not many sides will go there and win this season and to win in the way we did was impressive.

“We’re slowly getting there with the squad and by December we’re hoping to have a settled group of players.”

Boswell made the switch from two-divisions higher Horsham and has a wealth of experience playing in the SCFL Premier Division plus a level higher.

And Hand believes Boswell is only going to get better with the more games he plays.

“Darren has been superb since he’s been back, considering he hadn’t played consecutive games in a long time he’s hit the ground running,” Hand said.

“It’s just like we expected him to do, I have a feeling there will be plenty more goals from him the sharper he gets.”

Golds have a free weekend before travelling to in-form Steyning Town for a League Cup clash on Tuesday.

Hand is looking for more positive results in the weeks to come and said: “We’ve collected seven from the nine points available so far in the league are we’re looking to keep improving that total with every game we play. The priority is to finish as high as possible but we would obviously love a good cup run also.”

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