Young Hornets are crowned county champions

Champions! The Horsham U16s celebrating their County Cup success, and below, captain Lewis Reeves with the trophy. Pictures by Terry Buckman
Champions! The Horsham U16s celebrating their County Cup success, and below, captain Lewis Reeves with the trophy. Pictures by Terry Buckman

Horsham’s Under-16s are the champions of Sussex after winning the Sussex John Davey County Cup final at Lancing on Sunday.

Richard Wootton’s young Hornets beat league rivals AFC Brighton & Hove Youth 2-0 with first-half goals from Harry Bachelor and Matt Hards giving them a deserved victory and the coveted county trophy.

After beating them 3-1 in the league fixture earlier in the season, AFC Brighton & Hove never really got going and Horsham took full advantage to lift their second County Cup title in two seasons after their under-15s success last term.

Wootton said after the match: “Overall I think it was a well-deserved win. We played very well, especially in the first-half and our all-round performance was very pleasing.

It was a good display from the team as a whole, as well as some brilliant individual performances.

“AFC Brighton & Hove came back in to it at the start of the second half which I expected, but we dealt very well with everything they had to offer.

It is a big deal to win a County Cup twice in two seasons, and I am delighted with the boys as we look forward to next year.”

The Amber and Green outfit of Horsham began the match well, with Hards twice going close while in between Louis Lewis headed a corner wide.

Brighton’s first effort on goal saw Toby House let fly from range and Horsham goalkeeper Jack Reeves had to recover well after nearly spilling the ball into his own net.

Both sides then came extremely close to going ahead before Horsham landed the game’s first big blow. Bachelor was picked out by a ball from the right, and his poked shot beat the advancing goalkeeper Woods and defender Ellis South on the line to give Horsham the lead.

The Hornets deserved their lead and only had to wait 11 minutes for a second. Knee was the culprit as he hauled down Hards as he ran across him, the referee pointed to the spot and Hards stepped up to calmly send Woods the wrong way to make it 2-0.

Brighton started the second half strongly as they looked for a way back in the match, and Reeves pulled off a fine save to maintain the Hornets two-goal cushion.

Batchelor so nearly killed off the game but his shot cannoned off the crossbar, and then in a flurry of Horsham chances Biggs was denied and from the resulting corner Hugo Cowan headed against the post and on the rebound Bachelor’s drive was deflected wide.

And Horsham’s stern defence held strong to see out the match as the side triumphantly lifted the Sussex John Davey Cup, sponsored by Premier Sports and Leisure, for the first time in their history.

Horsham: J. Reeves, L. Reeves, Lewis, Cowan, Bachelor, Johnson, Hards, Bigg, Hyde, Kerr, Clarke.

Subs Used: Carter, Konieczny, Bristow, Wootton.