Heartbreak for Worthing United - joy for Rustington
Worthing United's fantastic run in the Supplementary Shield ended at the semi-final stage in the most heartbreaking of circumstances, losing in a penalty shoot-out.
But each and every one of the players can hold their heads high. They gave their all, and the disappointment of losing was etched on their faces as they walked dejectedly off the pitch for the last time this season.
Before kick-off, chairman Bill Clifford presented midfielder Craig Nagle with a trophy to mark his 100th appearance for the club, a remarkable achievement for an integral member of the team. Only Joe Patching, on 111, has played more times for the Mavericks.
The opening exchanges shoed the tie would develop into a hard-fought encounter between two good sides.
The visitors took the lead in the 13th minute, Lewis Hyde stooping low to head home from a corner.
The Mavericks were undeterred – indeed they thought they had scored in the 35th minute when a Callum Thoms free-kick rocketed into the net.
But the goal was disallowed for an infringement near the defensive wall.
The Mavericks were beginning to get on top at this stage, and a minute later the irrepressible James Thurgar hit the equaliser with a rasping shot, and at the interval the score stood at 1-1.
The Mavericks had the better of the second half, pegging the visitors back into their own half with sustained pressure, but a winning goal proved elusive.
Thurgar’s brilliant strike from 25 yards was expertly tipped over the bar by keeper Josh Bird and a Dean Sherwood effort was way off target.
With five minutes left, Dillon Nagle raced down the right, cut inside, but saw his shot go wide of the far post. And so to the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
To their credit, Midhurst were clinical, giving Aaron Relf in the Mavericks’ goal no chance as they scored three out of four attempts.
Only Callum Thoms and Levi Martin were successful for the Mavericks, and suddenly the dream of playing in a cup final had died.
Upper Beeding 2 Rustington 4
SCFL Shield semi-final
Rustington produced one of their best 45 minutes since their return to action to see off the challenge of Upper Beeding to progress to the Division 2 Supplementary Shield final.
A dominant first half meant the game was effectively won before half time – and it could have been more comprehensive.
Goals from James Butt, Josh Irish and Chris Darwin put the aways side 3-0 up and Upper Beeding offered very little at a very blustery Steyning Town FC.
Upper Beeding did enjoy a strong 15-minute period in the second half ass the hard-working Kris Harding scored a quickfire double to raise anxiety in the Rustington camp.
But top scorer Irish doubled his own tally and secured Rustington’s place in the final against Montpelier Villa, who they’ve already beaten 3-1 earlier in the competition.
The final is at Steyning next Tuesday night.
It was a strong Rustington performance with some excellent performances all round, none more so than man of the match Rob Brown, who was excellent in the heart of the midfield.
Rustington: B Nash, M Gilchrist, A McIver, G Peter, R Miles, R Brown, J Butt, J Oliver, C Darwin, J Irish, J Butt. Sub - J Bennett, O Chick, J Crouch, C Bennett, J Cleall.
Sidlesham Res 2 Yapton 2
At long last, Yapton avoided defeat in their West Sussex League group competition and thoroughly deserved their draw after four defeats.
Cameron Coe fired home from the edge of the box for Yapton’s opener after half an hour but five minutes later Sidlesham equalised. John Goord headed down a free kick for Dylan Vetara to restore the lead.
Sidlesham scored almost straight from the kick-off in the second half.
Yapton had chances to grab their first victory, but Coe and Liam O’Connor each had two efforts saved by the inspired home goalkeeper.