Horsham YMCA reached their first cup final in five years as they brushed aside fellow Division 1 rivals Ringmer 4-0 in their Sussex RUR Charity Cup semi-final at Shoreham’s Middle Road on Thursday evening.
Two goals in either half, which included a brace from Liam Hunter, helped YM to a comfortable win, booking them a cup final place for the first time since finishing runners-up to Whitehawk in the John O’Hara League Cup in 2009.
Elated YM manager Peter Buckland said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. We played really well. Ringmer are a good, hard working team if you let them get at you, as we found out when we went down there in the league and lost 2-0.
Two days later on Saturday there were even more goals when they hammered lowly Worthing United 11-0 in a Division 1 match.
Both Dan and Nick Sullivan scored hat-tricks for visiting YM, while Dan Evans added a brace and further goals came from Tom Gannon, Ash Dugdale and Brad Curtis as the bottom side were put to the sword.
In Thursday’s semi, YM made the best possible start when defender Kevin Burgess ghosted in at the far post to side foot home a Dan Sullivan free kick and give his side the lead after just five minutes.
Buckland’s men dominated the early exchanges and that set the tone for the remainder of a one sided tie.
Nick Sullivan fired over from six yards after a dangerous cross from brother, Dan, before YM doubled their advantage on the quarter hour mark when another free kick was this time powerfully headed home by Hunter.
Ringmer were restricted to a single Seb Saunders effort from range which flew comfortably wide, before YM ended the half in flowing fashion, Hunter releasing Brad Curtis down the right and his superb cross just evading Dave Brown at the far post.
YM started the second period just as quickly as they had begun the first, and were rewarded six minutes after the restart when an in-swinging Dan Sullivan corner resulted in a Ringmer handball on the goal line, and Hunter coolly dispatched the resulting penalty.
Ringmer then enjoyed a brief spell of pressure though the Blues weren’t on the front foot for long.
YM extended their advantage with 16 minutes left to play. Curtis won the ball well in midfield and freed Brown down the left, who beat his man and supplied the perfect cross for striker Sullivan to tap home at the far post.
YM should have further added to the score line late on, as Sullivan fired against the upright, Leroy Hyett was thwarted by Ringmer stopper Josh James when one on one, and Craig Grantham twice blasted over when well placed.
Buckland added after the Ringmer win: “It’s bizarre, but we’re hitting some of our best form now with just five games left.
“It beggar’s belief as to some of the points we’ve dropped and the number of games we’ve drawn, but that’s football.
“That’s the first semi-final put to bed, and we’re not going to take the second one lightly either. We’re learning all the time, but already we’ve had a good season.
“As we stand here now, we look like finishing fifth at worst in the league, we’re in an RUR cup final and there’s a Sussex Senior Cup semi-final still to come. I couldn’t be happier.”
Awaiting YM in the RUR final will be the winners of the competition’s other semi-final between Division 1 champions East Preston and Division 2 outfit Broadbridge Heath, who meet next week.
YM (4-2-3-1): Lockwood, Carden, O’Carroll, Burgess, Evans, Dugdale (c), Hunter (Gedling 59), D. Sullivan (Grantham 68), D. Brown (Hyett 75), B. Curtis, N. Sullivan