Pirates squeeze into final - now Elmer can concentrate on league

This week’s round-up of the action from the Chichester & West Sussex Sunday league features the big Charity Cup semi-final between Elmer and Nyetimber Pirates, the latest on Elmer’s title bid and a Pagham Rangers update from the Invitation Cup.

Elmer 1 Nyetimber Pirates 2

Charity Cup semi-final

Nyetimber secured their place in the Charity Cup final with a last-minute winner from Kerry Hardwell.

Micheal Frangou forced Elmer keeper Steve Nanson to tip an effort on to the crossbar within the first few minutes.

Pirates, the division-one champions, lost Ash Hunter to injury after just five minutes with Toby Stairs his replacement.

On 11 minutes Pirates’ Ryan Vevers was booked for an incident involving Elmer’s impressive left-back Jamie Hambidge, Elmer feeling he should have been sent off.

Elmer dominated for a spell and the division-three minnows grabbed the lead on 31 minutes. A quality long throw from Hambidge saw Pirates keeper Jamie Walter flap and fail to control it, leaving Nathan Sadler a simple tap-in.

Elmer were unfortunate not to go further ahead from efforts by Sadler and Matt Hope but Pirates had chances too.

Martyn Hope replaced Jack Davis for Elmer and for the first 20 minutes of the second half, the hosts more than held their own. But gradually Pirates began to create chances and Hardwell forced an equaliser past keeper Steve Nanson after a Frangou cross.

Sadler and James Ford had opportunities to restore Elmer’s lead while Nanson performed heroics to keep the underdogs level.

Hardwell secured Pirates’ spot in the final as he got on the end of a flowing move to force the ball home – with just 19 seconds to spare.

Pirates face division-one rivals AFC Chichester in the final, on Sunday, May 1, at Arundel FC.

Manager Charlie Welling said: “It’s great getting to the final in our first season, let’s just hope we can do the double now. Elmer have a good young side and hopefully we will get to play them again next season.”

Elmer turn their attention to the task of securing a division-three double. They face Pagham Rangers seconds on Sunday at Arundel needing a win to keep them in the chase to catch Butlins for the title.

PIRATES: Walter, Carter, Palmer Tribe, S Williamson, Hunter, Vevers, Griffin, T Williamson, Frangou, Hardwell. Subs: Stairs, Knight, Ballard, Nicholls.

Elmer 2 LG United 1

Division three

An 86th-minute winner from supersub Jack Davis kept Elmer’s title dreams alive at Mill Road.

In a rehearsal for their forthcoming Ken Baker Memorial Cup final, the visitors enjoyed the best of the early action with KC Stansbridge and Ben Cox causing Elmer a couple of scares.

But the new central defensive partnership of Luis Gonzalez and Kyle Belcher managed to hold firm.

Gradually Elmer managed to get a tighter grip with Martyn Hope and Tom Bann beginning to control the centre.

This paid dividends in the 34th minute when United keeper Jason Castle inexplicably handled a back pass, leaving the referee no option but to award Elmer an indirect free-kick six yards out.

A deft touch from Alex Peach set up Nathan Sadler and Elmer’s top scorer crashed the ball into the roof of the net to make the half-time score 1-0.

In the second half, Elmer replaced Kaine Lewis with veteran right-back Sean O’Donnell on 65 minutes, and just three minutes later were forced to withdraw skipper Alex Peach from the action following an injury. He was replaced by Craig Gardner.

A bold move on 77 minutes saw Davis replace the prolific Sadler at the head of Elmer’s attack.

But with just six minutes left it looked as if Elmer were to drop two vital points in their battle to catch Butlins at the top.

Gonzalez was penalised for handball just outside Elmer’s area and Cox buried the free-kick past Steve Nanson.

Stung by this setback, Elmer launched a period of concerted pressure and with a couple of minutes remaining Davis met a Bann corner to force the ball past Castle to claim all three points.

Elmer need four points from their remaining two matches to claim the division-three title.

Six Villages 1 Pagham Rangers 1

Invitation Cup

Six Villages started on the front foot with their three-man central midfield, spearheaded by the excellent Sam Enticott, causing Rangers problems and Bradley MacIver hooked just over early on.

Rangers began to come into the game and the visitors took the lead after 35 minutes when Nathan Stock’s near-post cross was poked in by Charlie Squires.

The second half, like the first, started with Six Villages in the ascendancy and they were nearly level straight away. A hopeful long ball towards goal rebounded off the crossbar and trickled along the goal line with Bradley MacIver and Tom Jefkins lurking.

Jefkins hit the post from five yards and combination of Alexander MacIver and Gary Rich superbly blocked the follow-ups.

The equaliser wasn’t long coming and it was a bizzare goal. A free-kick was awarded to Rangers for a handball in their own box. The kick was taken to Gibson, who wasn’t paying attention and the ball was intercepted by Enticott who lobbed keeper Rhys Coe, who was waiting to take the kick not realising it had been taken.

There was no further scoring and the draw leaves Rangers with seven points from their first three group games. They need to win both their remaining group games to be sure of reaching the final.

Villages’ man of the match was Enticott, Rangers’ Rich.

SIX VILLAGES: Folly, Holden, Mitch, Noble, Edwards, Janman, Linkhorn, Enticott, T Jefkins, B MacIver, J Jefkins.

RANGERS: Coe, Rich, Wheeler (Banham), A MacIver, Heller, Haga-Hammond, Clarke, Dean, Stock, Squires, Doyle (Gibson).