Unicorn leave Fatboys with slim pickings in Sussex Trophy final
Unicorn United celebrated in Brighton after winning the Sussex Sunday Challenge Trophy for the second time in five years, beating Hassocks Fatboys 2-1.
Harry Abraham was the Bognor pub team’s hero, smashing in the winner seven minutes from the end of an extra-time thriller at Lancing’s Culver Road.
Hassocks Fatboys, the biggest Sunday side in Mid Sussex, dominated the first half, taking a deserved lead.
But Unicorn manager Dennis Barclay had the recipe for success against the Fatboys, starving their attack by making a tactical change and switching from three at the back to a conventional flat four.
The move paid dividends with Matt Porter equalising in the 65th minute with a half-volley from a well-worked short corner engineered by Joseph Matthews.
Unicorn had three chances cleared off the line with Alex Barclay going close as the game went into extra-time before Porter pounced to prevent the final going to penalties.
Fatboys, exceptionally fit despite their jovial nickname, had their goalkeeper sent off in the closing seconds for a foul as he went forward in an attempt to equalise from a corner.
“The boys did us proud against a very good team and we enjoyed having a pleasant beer with them when we bumped into their players in Brighton,” said Barclay.
“We have already won the Worthing and Horsham division two title and can clinch the treble at the end of the month by beating Goring Galaxy in the final.”
Chairman Dave Phillips added: “I have never seen the boys play so well, especially as the opposition were full of quality players.
“I’m extremely proud of them. It will be difficult to top that but Guv, who founded the team with me, and I will look at doing just that.
“This isn’t just a victory for the pub, we are immensely proud to have won it for the town as there is no longer a Sunday league in the area.”
East Dean edged a seven-goal thriller 4-3 in their final game of the season against Worthing Borough at Woodside Road despite finding themselves behind three times.
The home side grabbed a 1-0 lead in the opening five minutes before a Dave O’Donnell free kick beat the goalkeeper and gave East Dean the impetus needed to kick on and gain control.
Borough continued to cause East Dean problems, however, and a deflected free kick flewpast George Phillpott to put them 2-1 up.
But the hosts’ lead didn’t last long as a lung-busting run down the right from Alex Smith followed by a cross met by Zach Dray saw East Dean make it 2-2 before the break.
The Dean still faced pressure from Borough and a shot which squeezed under Phillpott’s foot at his near post meant the home side went 3-2 up with time running out for the visitors.
Pete Caveney was fouled outside the box to give East Dean the perfect opportunity to get an equaliser with just two minutes left.
MoM Smith stepped up and whipped the ball over the wall and into the top corner to bring the Dean level at 3-3.
With only a minute remaining, East Dean had enough gas left in the tank for one last attack with almost every player forward.
The ball fell to Buster Strain on the edge of the area and he picked out Caveney in the box to curl his effort into the net to give East Dean all three points, ending the season with a 4-3 win.
East Dean: Phillpott, Strain, Freeman N, Houghton, Wordsworth, Oram, Smith , O’Donnell, Richards, Dray, Caveney. Subs: Gould, Dunne, Kearvell.