Hurstpierpoint Football Club lifted the Edgar German Cup for the second successive season on Wednesday night with a 3-1 win over Chagossian & Mauritian Association.
To say there was a carnival atmosphere in the stands might sound like a classic football cliché, but with coach-loads of Chagossian & Mauritian supporters at Hanbury Stadium and a percussion accompaniment, it was certainly applicable in this case.
Buoyed by the support, the Chagossian & Mauritian Association started on the front foot and should have been in front within minutes; twice they hit the post before missing an open goal from six yards.
But as the half went on Hurstpierpoint managed to gain a foothold in the game and started to threaten at the other end of the pitch. Ed Bartram flashed an effort inches wide after some good play by youngster Robbie Payne, and they looked dangerous from a series of corners.
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The deadlock was broken shortly before half time when a long ball towards Bartram fell behind the Chagossian and Mauritian backline, with Payne gambling and poking home.
And the half time team talk was made all the easier for Hurstpierpoint Manager Dudley Christensen when Sam Hayter doubled the lead before the break. In contrast to the opener, this time the ball was shifted from left to right through the midfield, and given to Sam Hayter out wide to run at the defence. Hayter’s low ball passed through a crowd of players to Bartram; whose attempt to keep the ball alive looped up in the air and fortuitously back to Hayter, who volleyed in off of the underside of the crossbar.
Hurstpierpoint started the second half how they finished the first, but the crossbar that had previously added him denied him a second after a clever ball from Simon Blaxall.
Chagossian and Mauritian Association pushed forward but were thwarted by a strong backline of Danny Beattie, Nick Chellel, Ben Northrop and Luca D’Alessio, who restricted them to chances from long-range which were met by a seemingly impassable Pat Gannon in the Hurstpierpoint goal.
And with the game opening up, Hurstpierpoint introduced deadly striker Tom Deveson from the bench, who didn’t take long to score his customary goal firing low into the bottom corner to take the score to 3-0 with minutes remaining.
You would have been forgiven if you thought that was game over, but Chagossian and Mauritian Association kept the tie alive with a goal of their own immediately from the restart. Having fruitlessly tried from distance earlier on in the game, they finally struck one beyond the reach of Gannon to set up a nervy final few minutes.
Fortunately for Hurstpierpoint, they could call upon the experience of Stuart Ritchie and Will Maltby, and the energy of substitutes Stuart Brown and Bas Robinson in midfield to see the game out, and take the trophy back to Fairfield Rec for another year.
Despite being delighted to win the cup, Hurstpierpoint will quickly reapply their focus to the league campaign, with the opportunity to also win the league title by winning their last final home games of the season.
Team: Gannon; Beattie, Chellel, Northrop, D’Alessio; Maltby, Ritchie, Blaxall (Brown); Payne (Robinson), Bartram (Deveson), Hayter; Unused Subs: Smith, Jacques