Uphill task is worth the effort as Wittering are crowned champions

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Wittering United are celebrating after clinching the West Sussex League division-two south title with a 2-1 win at Lodsowrth.

The visitors were without Dave Kennard and Sid Green and recalled Pete Cairns and Nathan O’Brennan.

They were made to play down the significant hill in the first half.

Wittering started brightly and looked to press at every opportunity, forcing a succession of corners. The best chance fell to Barry McCoy but he headed wide.

Wittering took the lead in comical fashion. The ball ran loose across the 18-yard line and with the keeper advancing a Lodsworth defender, under no pressure, calmly rolled it past him into the empty goal. The Warriors seemed to think the game was won and strolled through the rest of the half with only wayward efforts from Cox and Kewell to show for their efforts.

At half-time the management team let the players know that they had missed an opportunity to kill off the game - and sure enough in the second half, Wittering struggled up the slope.

Lodsworth went close with a couple of efforts before their right winger fired in a volley that Rochester just managed to divert on to the post.

Another effort from the Lodsworth winger seemed to be going in until Nathan O’Brennan cleared off the line.

With ten minutes to go a tremendous volley from the Lodsworth forward flew past Rochester. It was no more than the home team deserved and it looked as if the title party would be put on hold.

But with four minutes remaining captain McCoy sealed the title. A ball from Nathan O’Brennan was flicked on by Darran Cox for McCoy to run on to. With the keeper advancing, McCoy slotted it into the bottom corner to secure the division two south title for the Warriors. It was McCoy’s 20th of the season and his most important. Kelly was voted man of the match.

WITTERING: Rochester, O’Brennan, Cairns, McCoy, Lartey, Sheppard, Newton, T Jefkins, Kewell, Kelly, Cox. Subs: Oakes, J Jefkins, Smith, Howden, B Cox.

Ore Athletic 1 Wittering Utd 0 (aet)

Sussex Junior Cup final

Wittering lost out in extra-time in their first cup final of the season.

The Warriors welcomed back skipper Barry McCoy but started slowly and were unable to get the ball down to play their passing football.

However the first chance fell their way when a through-ball from Tom Kelly found Darran Cox, who fired just past the post.

James Kewell and Alan Sheppard were both denied the opener.

Ore could have taken the lead when a header from a corner just went over the bar.

The best chance of the first half fell to Alan Sheppard five minutes before the break. An excellent run and cut-back from Darran Cox found Sheppard who was unmarked ten yards from goal. But the chance went begging.

Lartey, Cox and Kelly all went close from corners and long throws but the Warriors could not muster a decent test for the Ore keeper.

Ore were restricted to long-range efforts but it was 0-0 after 90 minutes.

Extra time was close-fought with few chances for either team.

Ore Athletic eventually broke the deadlock on 113 minutes when a deep cross found their winger, who outjumped Green to loop in a header over Rochester. It was harsh on Wittering.

With four minutes to go Hugh Howden’s 15-yard shot was mistimed and the chance went.

There was one more chance for the Warriors and for Howden. He picked the ball up 18 yards out and drove a shot on target but the Ore keeper kept it out.

This was the first time this season the Warriors had not registered a goal. Manager Gary Jefkins said: “The boys put in everything and deserved great credit for reaching the final. Some of the players looking fatigued but that was to take nothing away from Ore’s victory.”

Man of the match was Dave Kennard.

WITTERING: Rochester, Kennard, Green, McCoy, Lartey, Sheppard, T Jefkins, Kelly, Kewell, Cox, Newton. Subs: J Jefkins, Smith, Cairns, Howden, O’Brennan.