Sunday 1st March
Mid-Sussex League Cup semi-final
The Camping World Community Stadium, Horsham
Horsham U16s 7 Bexhill United 0

The sun shone on this cup tie that saw the return of the Bexhill Pirates, who were playing for a place in the Mid-Sussex League cup final against Horsham’s U16s, with the later looking to make it a hat-trick of wins against this very good East Sussex opposition.

The opening encounters did not disappoint with some firm, solid tackles made by both teams who were looking to apply an early dominance on this very important match. This early pressure was successfully capitalised upon by the home side, when an early Ryan Baldwin cross was headed goalwards by Ben Auberey, who saw his effort pushed away by the Pirates’ ‘keeper, only for Diego Carmo to scramble the ball over the prostrate shot stopper. This was the catalyst for the Hornets to exploit home advantage, when Baldwin used his vast array of skills to jinx past his marker and send in another pinpoint cross that was headed home by the on-rushing Carmo.

The onslaught did not stop and the game was effectively won when  Baldwin was provider again, this time with a great ball through to Aden Radojevic who coolly slipped the ball past the Bexhill goalie to extend the Hornets’ lead. This provided an over-confidence issue for the Yellows, who saw Bexhill gain better possession to create several chances that were well blocked by the defensive unit or tipped over by the Horsham shot stopper Luke Reeves, to maintain this three-goal advantage into the half time break.

With some words of calmness from the management team, the Hornets were warned to expect an early Bexhill slugfest, However, Radojevic eased any nerves when he ran from the halfway line, leaving Pirate defenders in his wake to fire past a bewildered ‘keeper to give Horsham a four goal lead very early in this second half. It was not long for the massed crowd and an Eastbourne ‘spy’ to witness Radojevic grab his hat-trick. Baldwin was again his provider when he slipped him in behind the Bexhill defence for Aden to smash the ball home for the Hornets’ fifth.

With Horsham now fully dominant it was only a matter of time for a sixth and it was fitting that the provider of all the previous goals got his scoring reward. With his fellow winger now turning provider, Ayo-Oluwa Oke swung in a wonderful cross for Baldwin to latch onto, firing past the ‘keeper. With time ticking away there was still time for a seventh when Harvey Woollard wriggled into the penalty area only to be fouled, enabling Callum Chesworth to take authority and smash the spot-kick past the diving goalie to make the final score Horsham 7 Bexhill 0.

Horsham: Luke Reeves, Jamie Rodd (c), Matty Pepper, Jack Charman, Ryan Baldwin, Diego Carmo, Ayo-Oluwa Oke, Callum Chesworth, Harvey Woollard, Ben Aubrey, Aden Radojevic  Subs: Jonny Ruiz, Zach Hobson-Hughes, Charlie Nunn, Archie Fuller

Scorers: Aden Radojevic (3), Diego Carmo (2), Ryan Baldwin, Callum Chesworth

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