West Sussex Football League round-up: Forest toast promotion and Trinity book final place

FOREST Reserves bounced straight back from last season’s relegation and Horsham Trinity reached the Division 3 Cup final in this week’s WSFL action

Division 1

AN OPENING 12 minute blitz saw Cowfold Reserves secure a fifth place finish as they beat Yapton 3-2.

A pulsating run of form has seen Fold win seven games since the turn of the year, and they showed that form in style at Yapton in the opening stages.

Fold’s passing game was too much as Phil Marshall’s excellent free kick found Craig Deane at the far post to nod across goal for Nigel Smith to tap home the opener on six minutes, and straight from the re-start Fold won the ball back, where Smith released Michael Nash who stroked home number two.

With Cowfold rampant, there were no surprises when Greg Brabon beat two men after cutting in from the left, and smashed a shot into the far corner.

A shell-shocked Yapton rallied, and as Cowfold took their foot off the gas momentarily, hit back when a rebound was stabbed home after Phil Marshall blocked a shot.

With their tails now up, Yapton pulled another one back shortly after the half hour mark, their striker turning and firing home despite the best efforts of keeper Beck and Marshall on the line.

An uneventful second half followed, and although both sides had penalty claims turned down it remained 3-2 as Fold completed a satisfying campaign with a sixth away win of the season.

Fold: Beck, Easton, Marshall, Deane, Ansell (c), Whiting (Carter 70), Brabon G, Smith M, Dalton, Smith N, Nash (Light 86)

Division 1

A CONTENTIOUS refereeing decision marked Holbrook’s 2-1 win against Barns Green, as they remain sweating on a promotion place.

Barns Green started well and had Holbrook on the back foot, but found keeper Adam Koller in fine form. Pete Walker had possibly the pick of the chances, heading wide as the scores remained level at the break.

It was a different story in the second half, as Holbrook came out all guns blazing, and went ahead with a bullet header. The Green finally got a foothold though and driven on by Jon Bacon, Adam Rice and Seb Pestridge, levelled with the move of the match. James Fowler flicked the ball over his marker’s head and then found Mark Blick with a sublime ball, Blick then finished with aplomb.

But there was late drama, as a disputed free kick led to a corner, which was scrambled home to spark jubilant scenes in the Holbrook camp - Green felt Henry Liley was fouled in the build-up.

Holbrook are now waiting on the outcome of Barnham Reserves’ clash with Faygate to discover if they can toast promotion.

Division 3 Cup

HORSHAM Trinity marched into a second cup final in a week by beating local rivals Cowfold III 3-2 in extra time.

Already in the Tony Kopp Cup final next week, Trinity kept their noses in front to book a final place against Ockley at Arundel on April 30.

Ben Mash sent Trinity on their way during a high tempo start, swivelling in the box to hook home the opener. Cowfold hit back though, when Luke Parsons was felled inside the box, and father Ant stepped up to convert the penalty making it 1-1. It was Trinity who went into the break ahead though, Max Lee’s pin-point free kick was met by Ali Russell, who chested down before an emphatic finish restored the advantage.

Cowfold started the second half in fine form, and Ant Parsons met a low cross to roll in a cool finish to level the scores again - that set up a frantic finish in which Mash hit the post, and Tom Hoole fired just over.

Into extra time, Trinity found the winner when Craig Baker’s curling cross found Mash to slide home what proved to be the decisive goal.

Trinity: Hebden, Hoole, Lee, Laney, Fitzgerald (O’Dwyer), Goddard, Reeves, Russell, Baker, Ebelewicz (Rufulo), Mash (Sleat).

Division 4 North

FOREST Reserves have clinched promotion to Division 3 at the first time of asking.

Successive 1-0 wins against Henfield III and Border Wanderers ensured they bounced straight back from last year’s relegation.

Against Henfield last Wednesday, James Dickenson struck after just nine seconds for what proved to be the crucial goal. The Forest defence was put under sustained pressure in the second half but keeper Neil Dempsey was barely tested as his side topped the division for the first time this season.

And promotion was secured less than 72 hours later, but they were made to work hard for it against Border Wanderers.

Injuries and unavailability forced many of the team to play out of position, but a first half strike from Warren Sweatman was the difference as his deft touch converted a teasing Barry Ashton cross.

David Clark went close before stand in keeper Scott Shorey comfortably dealt with one long range effort from a sprightly Border side.

In the second half, Ben Harwood’s header was cleared off the line, and although the challenge of three games in a week started to show, Forest held on to secure promotion.

Just one point from their remaining four games will ensure the title.

Team: S Shorey, Douglas, D Shorey, Sleat, Smith, Grover, Sweatman, Clark, Ashton, Harwood, Clements

Division 5 Cup

WEST Chiltington Reserves suffered disappointment as they went down 1-0 to Milland in the Division 5 Cup final.

After a dull opening period in which both sides struggled with the conditions, Milland struck the decisive blow on the stroke of half time with a good finish from the first clear cut chance.

Chilt upped the tempo in the second half, but despite chances for Sam Davis, whose shot was tipped over, and Stuart Miller, who missed from close range after a goalmouth scramble, they were found wanting.

Manager Brian Holden said; “We resorted to the long ball which played into Milland’s hands as they have a strong back four. We can be proud of a decent season but we have just fallen a little short today.”