Icklesham Casuals won the first East Sussex Football League Cup Final of the season at the Pilot Field on Monday, April 9 when they lifted the Wisdens Sports Challenge Cup with a 4-0 victory over Sovereign Saints.
In an evenly contested opening period, both sides had half chances with Jack Davies and his opposite number in the Saints goal making saves. Icklesham took the lead on the half-hour mark when Charlie Cornford’s finish bobbled into the back of the net and Cornford doubled the lead four minutes later when he neatly lifted the ball past the advancing Saints keeper.
Sovereign Saints, who the previous Wednesday were victorious in the final of the Sussex Junior Cup, put the Casuals under pressure as half-time approached and a pivotal moment came in stoppage time when a cross was half cleared and Davies could only watch as a shot from the edge of the area came back off the foot of the post.
Icklesham took advantage of the escape in the early minutes of the second half when Cornford received a pass from Steffan Davies and beat two Sovereign Saints defenders before firing into the net to complete his hat-trick.
The deficit was almost reduced mid-way through the half when the ball narrowly failed to cross the line following a goalmouth scramble in the Casuals’ area but in the 74th minute Cornford put the result beyond doubt when his initial shot was saved before it fell to Steffan Davies and then Cornford again who netted the rebound for his fourth of the match.
This was a deserved victory in a game that was played in an excellent spirit throughout, with every Icklesham player contributing to the win. Congratulations to Michael Rogers and his side on a brilliant night.
Ollie Beaumont lifted the trophy, becoming the first Icklesham Casuals 1st team captain to do so in a final since current club chairman Bob Baker raised the Eastbourne and Hastings League Division One Cup in 1987.
The winning team was Jack Davies, Mike Amar, Ollie Beaumont, Jack Pullin, Jack Swan, Val Newman, Jack Hobden, Kieran Dighton, Charlie Cornford, Adam Sully and Steffan Davies with used substitutes Phil Badrock, Asa Croucher and Solly Cooke and unused sub Bill Beaumont.
The club would like to thank the East Sussex Football League and Hastings United FC for organising and staging the final, Wisdens Sports for sponsoring the competition, all those who came along to support the team, and club sponsors Littlewoods Fencing and HRS Rail for their backing during the season.
In the 1957-58 season John Dunk scored 52 goals for the Icklesham Casuals. That record has stood until the final when Cornford’s first goal broke the record. It was very appropriate that it was broken in a winning cup final.
Photo: Icklesham Casuals FC