Two of our local Chichester & West sussex Sunday League sides rounded off excellent campaigns with cup-final victories.
Elmer 7 LG United 0
Ken Baker Memorial Cup final
Elmer finished their season in emphatic style with a stunning victory over LG United to complete the division-three double in front of a bumper crowd.
With leading goalscorer Nathan Sadler away, it was feared Elmer could struggle for goals. Martyn Hope was pushed into a centre-forward role and caused the LG defence problems.
Elmer were unfortunate not to go ahead when an Alex Peach corner was headed goalwards by James Ford only for it to hit a United defender on the line.
LG took a firm hold on proceedings for the next ten minutes and thought they had gone ahead when Luke Lawrence ran on to a through-ball and lifted his shot over the advancing Steve Nanson and in.
But the celebrations were cut short with an assistant flagging for offside.
The deadlock was broken in the 23rd minute when Matt Hope got to a pass from Tom Bann to crash the ball past Alex Brennan.
A minute later the lead was doubled. James Ford went on a dazzling run down the right and as he cut in towards the area he was hauled down.
Elmer skipper Peach curled a fine left-footed effort into the top corner.
Now Elmer were in their stride and on 38 minutes Jamie Hambidge whipped a cross into the box which was met by a header from Ford to make it 3-0.
Elmer wrapped up proceedings on the hour when Matt Hope scored twice in a minute to complete his hat-trick.
Jack Davis came on to replace Martyn Hope, and he nearly repeated his supersub antics when he rose to head the ball goalwards, but it went just wide.
Injuries to Peach and Matt Hope saw them replaced by Enoch Kwoffe and Craig Gardner. Kwoffe caused the tiring LG defence problems with his pace.
With 15 minutes left Ronnie Lewry helped himself to a double to make the score 7-0, a scoreline that reflected Elmer’s dominance.
The final whistle brought wild celebrations as ‘the Invincibles’ were presented with the Ken Baker Memorial Cup and the Dennis Leonard division-three trophy.
Nyetimber Pirates 3 AFC Chichester 0
Chichester Sunday Charity Cup final
Michael Frangou struck twice as Nyetimber Pirates lifted the cup.
Pirates started as favourites after an impressive season, but AFC Chichester were determined not to make it easy for the division-one winners.
Chichester put together some neat passing moves early on but didn’t really trouble the Nyetimber defence of Palmer Hamm, Carter and Williamson.
Gary Rowlands raced through and rounded the Pirates keeper but was thwarted by Matt Carter, who raced back to clear off the line. The Pirates got stronger as the first half went on with Ryan Vevers and Ruben French attacking.
Pirates boss Charlie Welling made his first change on 55 minutes when Toby Stairs replaced Vevers, and Stairs delivered a perfect cross with his first touch which was converted by Frangou.
Top scorer Kerry Hardwell’s long-range effort went just wide. Pirates duo Tom Williamson and Ted Griffin were superb in the middle but Chichester finally got through and Rowlands was bundled over by Jamie Walter for a spot-kick. But Walter saved superbly to the delight of the travelling Pirates fans.
Pirates kicked into another gear and sub Toby Stairs headed his first goal for the club. French ran Chichester ragged and Frangou finished the game off in typical style with another goal.
Pirates captain Ted Griffin lifted the trophy with manager Welling as they celebrated a first-season double, something to build on next season.
PIRATES: Walter, S Williamson, Carter, Hamm, Palmer, Vevers, French, Griffin, T Williamson, Hardwell, Frangou.s: Stairs, Ballard, Nichols.