Double delight after decades’ wait for super Slinfold Reserves

Slinfold celebrate the West Sussex Football League Division 5 title
Slinfold celebrate the West Sussex Football League Division 5 title

After a 48-year wait, Slinfold Reserves have won Division 5 and after an even longer 83-year wait have won the Rossiter Trophies Division 5 Charity Cup.

They wrapped up the Charity Cup at the end of April eventually beating a hard-battling Lodsworth team 3-2 in an extremely eventful final.

Slinfold FC celebrations

Slinfold FC celebrations

The league went to the wire. Slinfold needed a draw against eventual runners-up and Tony Kopp Cup winners AFC Gatwick to win the title on the final day and they secured a 3-3 one in another action-packed game.

That meant that Slinfold finished the second half of the season unbeaten and without dropping a point in 2019.

Slinfold chairman Tim Shields said: “I’m completely overwhelmed at how this amazing bunch of people have come together, through thick and thin, and it’s been a pleasure to have witnessed and been a part of it.”

In the cup final, Slinfold went ahead when defender Luke Martin chose a brilliant time to score his first goal of the season. An equaliser for Lodsworth followed and as Slinfold skipper George Smith tried to take control of the game, but was met with a deliberate elbow to his nose with only a yellow card shown.

In the second half, a delightful Alli Bond cross was met by Nick Jones to put Slinfold 2-1 up.

With the clock ticking down, Cameron McCracken scored with a brilliant 40-yard free kick to extend their lead.

The drama did not finish there though as with minutes left Slinfold ‘keeper Ryan Coldman was shown a second yellow for a foul in the box and Lodsworth buried the penalty to set up a nervy final few minutes.

“The gaffer told us before the game to play the game in front of us and not the occasion. Unfortunately, a few of us got caught up in the moment and we made it extremely difficult for ourselves. We got the result though and I couldn’t be prouder of the lads,” said skipper Smith.

In their final league match, Slinfold took the lead as Rob Ellarby scored his 30th goal of the season for a 1-0 half-time lead, despite some real pressure from Gatwick.

In the second half, McCracken produced another fine free kick from 18 yards and effortlessly placed the ball into the far-right corner.

An immediate counter from Gatwick saw them pull a goal back, but Ali Powling then went through and restored a two-goal Slinfold cushion.

A Gatwick bombardment followed and a reckless lunge in the area from Neil Page, which he was sent off for, allowed Gatwick back in when they converted the penalty.

With Slinfold tiring a free kick on the edge of the area saw Brandon Reeves complete his hat-trick, but Slinfold held out for their required point.