They defeated Bostik League South East side Haywards Heath 3-0 at Culver Road, Lancing in a game that Peacehaven were never in any danger of losing.
With a crowd of 410 in attendance, of which around three quarters were supporting Peacehaven, Haven fans rose to proud manager Mark Shutt’s challenge, and became the twelfth man. They sung and chanted their hearts out for the whole game, helping to inspire Peacehaven to a famous victory.
The last time Peacehaven won a senior cup competition was in 2014 when as a Ryman South League side they defeated Bognor Regis Town - a team one division above Peacehaven at the time, by the same score to lift the Sussex Senior Cup. Ironically, on that day Peacehaven were managed by Shaun Saunders – the current manager of Haywards Heath.
Peacehaven came into the game as underdogs with Heath expected to lift the coveted trophy. They had had a brilliant season, finishing in fifth place in a tough league in their inaugural season, but they looked-liked they had simply run out of steam.
Peacehaven meanwhile played brilliantly throughout and could have easily won by a greater margin, and gave probably one of their best displays of the season.
The whole side were heroes. This fine win came three years more or less to the day that Peacehaven were close to going under with massive debts but came back as a community fan-owned club. The trust, resolve and support that fans gave the club then has now been rewarded with this brilliant piece of silverware.
It was clear from the outset that Haven’s talisman Cam Wiltshire was going to be a target and he was on the end of several hefty challenges. The final one saw Heath’s Sean Ruddy sent off in the 90th minute.
Both sides opened up quite tentatively but it was Peacehaven who settled first and quickly got into their pass and move rhythm.
On nineteen minutes defender John Elliott opened the scoring for Peacehaven after brilliant control in the box by Curt Ford. Haven’s fans erupted and early thoughts of a possible upset began to be considered.
Haven’s fans expected a response from Heath and three minutes later they forced a corner which Alieu Secka, who didn’t put a foot wrong all game, claimed well.
Straight after this Peacehaven were on the offensive when top scorer Callum Hart had his effort blocked by the Heath defence.
Peacehaven were still taking the game to Haywards Heath and the influential Jake Brocklebank put Ford through who shot over the bar.
In the 37th minute Peacehaven doubled their lead when Brocklebank slammed home his penalty kick after Ford had been upended in the box.
With just two minutes to go until the break Hart was unceremoniously challenged on the edge of the box with indiscipline now beginning to creep into Heath’s play. But nothing came of the free kick.
Half time: Peacehaven & Telscombe 2, Haywards Heath Town 0.
With the second half just two minutes old, Ford found space in the Haywards Heath penalty area before his left-footed shot was deflected for a corner. From the corner the same player headed his effort just wide.
Heath did begin to threaten but Haven’s back four was immense throughout and dealt comfortably with anything Heath could muster.
With 30 minutes remaining Peacehaven were beginning to drop a bit deeper and Heath showed a threat when Brandon Kilula was called upon to make a massive sliding tackle to break up the threat. From the resulting corner, Secka instinctively threw out his arms to make the save and push the ball out for another corner which was easily dealt with.
And then on 65 minutes it should have been all over. Wiltshire was chopped down in the box for Peacehaven’s second spot kick of the afternoon. But this time, the normally reliable Brocklebank skied his effort about ten feet over the bar. Fans were asking themselves if Peacehaven would come to regret this miss.
Heath sensed there could be an opportunity and were having their best spell, while Peacehaven meanwhile were looking dangerous when they attacked and were looking for a third.
With nine minutes left, Wiltshire was involved with a brilliant move which saw the midfielder fire just over the bar.
And then on 82 minutes the game was effectively over, when the outstanding Charlie Durling, normally to be found in midfield, but today playing outstandingly in defence, found himself in Heath’s box. After a scramble the defender lashed home his effort from close range to make the score 3-0 and job done.
After Peacehaven manager Mark Shutt said: “It was amazing, I’m shocked, I’m speechless.” He then composed himself and went on to say: “We raised our game. We got to the final by expressing ourselves. I told the lads to go out and impress their family and friends and our amazing supporters.” He continued: “Mental strength is important, and we have that in abundance; this result is great for the club.” “This result is also a great launch pad for next season.”
Final score; Peacehaven & Telscombe 3, Haywards Heath 0.
Peacehaven & Telscombe: Secka, Kilula, Grant, Durling, LeGrange, Brocklebank, Ford, Scrafton, Hart, Elliott, Wiltshire. Subs: Cheeseman, Burton, Massen, Amarteifio, McDonnell.
Updated 11:18 - 7 May 2019 by Pitchside View