Hard-fought victory sees Roffey lift Mid Sussex Senior Cup

Roffey captain Duncan Hirschfield recieves the Mid Sussex Senior Cup from sponsor Bob Gray
Roffey captain Duncan Hirschfield recieves the Mid Sussex Senior Cup from sponsor Bob Gray

A moment of magic from Damon Hawkins was enough to see Roffey lift the Mid Sussex Senior Cup on Wednesday night.

The striker riffled home a superb first-half half volley into the roof of the net from the edge of the box to clinch them a hard-fought 1-0 win over Cuckfield Rangers at Burgess Hill’s Leylands Park.

It was a rare moment of quality in a tight match played out in swirling winds and on an end-of-season uneven surface.

A healthy crowd braved the blowy conditions as County League Division 3 side Roffey held out over their Mid Sussex Premier Division opponents, who piled on the pressure in the second half.

It was a resolute showing from Julian Miller’s back four who shut out their pacey opponents despite sitting deep for plenty of the second 45 minutes.

To their credit, both sides tried to keep the ball on the floor in the early exchanges, but the surface meant plenty of misplaced passes.

Mid Sussex Senior Cup champions Roffey

Mid Sussex Senior Cup champions Roffey

Rangers had the first real chance on 13 minutes as Roffey captain Duncan Hirschfield miss-controlled a difficult ball from a teammate and Luke Trotter slide in Ricky Head on the left, but he fired wide of the upright.

At the other end, Phil Awcock lofted a long-range free-kick to the far post, but it was just over Andy Lampard’s head.

Lewis Blaney was first called into action on 29 minutes as he saved a stinging shot from Head, but being unable to hold it, was forced into blocking away Logan Newington’s follow-up.

Roffey had the lead three minutes before the break as another long-range free-kick was put into the box and headed back as far as Hawkins, who set himself and lashed home with Aaron Agate rooted to the spot.

In the second half, Rangers put on the pressure and on a rare occasion that Trotter got in behind the Roffey defence, Blaney was on hand to make a low save at his near post.

Moments later the stopper produced a one-handed diving save to push away a dangerous ball across his six-yard box.

At the other end, an Elliott Hawkes corner had Agate scrambling to claw it away at the near post.

Cuckfield then had a goal chalked out for offside on 66 minutes as a ball across the goalmouth was tapped home from close range, but the assistant referee’s flag had been up for some time in the build-up.

Miller threw on Luke Macgregor and Michael Spence, who gave his side some liveliness in the middle and out wide and they had a good spell of sustained pressure without troubling Agate.

Rangers’ clearest chance to level came on 81 minutes as James Hancock gave away the ball and the pacey Nick Pritchard got away from the seasoned Chris Simmons for the first time, but his dangerous crossed was hooked clear away from a waiting striker.

Roffey held strong from a couple of late set-pieces and long throws into their box to secure the silverware from a hard-fought win.

Roffey: Blaney, Simmons, D.Hirshfield, Awcock, Simester, Hawkes, Halliday, Hancock, White, Lampard, Hawkins. Unused subs: Macgregor, Bowles, Spence, Taylor, R.Hirschfield.

Rangers: Agate, Best, Burberry, Finch, Keaney, Houlders, Goulden, Pritchard, Newington, Head, Trotter. Subs: Corke, O’Farrell, Cambridge, Daly.