Two of our local Chichester & West Sussex Sunday League teams are celebrating titles.
Old Barn 6 Nyetimber Pirates 2
Kerry Hardwell scored the pick of the goals in the final league game of the season as champions Nyetimber Pirates came out 6-2 losers against runners-up The Old Barn.
Pirates rested a number of key players – Griffin, Frangou, Wimble, Hamm, Vevers, Ludlow, Urqhart and Hunter – as they saw this game as a chance to give some squad players a chance to impress for the upcoming Charity Cup final.
Barn took an early lead after an impressive header from Kevin Dewey but Pirates soon hit back when Tom Williamson headed home after an Elroy Nichols cross.
In-form Toby Stairs was forced off through injury against his former club.
Barn took the lead again just after the break when Tom Stairs smashed one in from 30 yards. Stairs’ wondergoal was cancelled out when Hardwell shot from the centre circle leaving Ash Pugh with no chance. Pirates keeper Walter swapped with defender Palmer and Old Barn took over with two more goals apiece from Woolston and Dewey.
Despite Pirates’ first defeat of the season, the title celebrations started at full-time when captain Ted Griffin was handed the trophy to cap an impressive first season for the Pirates. Their final game of the season will be the Charity Cup final on May 1 versus AFC Chichester
PIRATES: Walter, Carter, S Williamson, Tribe, Palmer, Ballard, Nichols, Stairs, T Williamson, French, Hardwell. Subs: Vevers, Hamm, Thomas.
Elmer 3 Avisford Sports 2
Champione, champione, ole, ole, ole ... Elmer claimed the title - by moving to the top of the table for the first time since November and winning their final game with the last kick. Elmer were fortunate not to go behind after 12 minutes when a goal was disallowed for offside.
It looked as if that escape had stung Elmer into action as they then created their first clear opportunity but James Ford’s header was thwarted by Stuart Gibbons in the Avisford goal. From their next attack the visitors went ahead with a quality finish from RJ Hampton.
Matt Hope strode forward in desperate search of an immediate equaliser butlost out in a one on one with Gibbons.
Elmer got on level terms in the 29th minute. A rash challenge just outside the area led to a free-kick and top scorer Nathan Sadler stepped up to crash in his 39th goal of the season.
Three minutes later Hope got his head to a fine cross from Sean O’Donnell to guide the ball in.
But Avisford mounted a period of pressure of their own and, from a corner, managed to squeeze the ball into the net.
Needing just a draw, Elmer could have been forgiven for shutting up shop in the second half but chose to go for the win. This meant Avisford carved out their share of chances.
Strong performances from Elmer’s central defensive pair of Tom Bann and Kyle Belcher meant no further goals were conceded.
With four minutes remaining Elmer boldly replaced Ford with Jack Davis and were rewarded as he rose at the far post to meet an Alex Peach corner. Davis deliberately headed the ball back and over Gibbons to make it 3-2 and sendg his team-mates and the large Elmer following crazy.
Elmer’s next target is to complete the division-three double by winning the Ken Baker Memorial Cup when they take on LG United on April 28 at Arundel FC (7.30pm).