SOUTHWICK Football Club fought back from 3-1 down to win 4-3 after extra-time away to Three Bridges’ under-21 team on Saturday to reach the final of the Sussex Intermediate Cup.
The hosts led 2-0 after just 12 minutes, before Tom Donnelly got a goal back. Bridges moved 3-1 ahead on the stroke of half-time but Wickers hit back to send the tie to extra-time.
Alex Sarkies then hit the winner from the penalty spot on 105 minutes to send Southwick through to the final, where they will meet Arundel Reserves at Lancing’s Culver Road ground on April 14.
It is the first cup final Southwick have reached since 2002 and manager John Kilgarriff said: “It was a brilliant win and the lads thoroughly deserved it.
“The lads have been fantastic all season and I can’t praise them enough.”
Bridges, playing with the wind behind them, went ahead after just nine minutes when Ben Symes did not get enough on his header back to keeper Jason Bridge and Alfie Harris ran through to score.
Wickers responded well as Donnelly and Lee Denyer both went close, before Bridges made it 2-0 on 12 minutes. From another long ball forward, Harris tapped the ball home.
Donnelly pulled a goal back from Elliott Finney’s through ball on 28 minutes but the hosts restored their two-goal lead on the stroke of half-time.
Denyer made it 3-2 on 66 minutes and Wickers then levelled on 77 minutes when Sarkies beat a Bridges defender to the ball and shot home into the far corner.
Denyer twice hit the post as Southwick pressed for a winner but the tie went to extra-time.
Bridge made a superb save, before Southwick took the lead in the last minute of the first half. Sarkies was brought down, with the assistant referee awarding a penalty, and Sarkies got up to score from the spot.
Wickers dealt with everything Bridges threw at them in the second half of the extra period and Denyer almost sealed the win but was again denied by a post.
Southwick are back in league action on Saturday when they entertain Bosham in County League Division 3.
SOUTHWICK: Bridge; Symes, Rhodes, Smith, Lipscombe; Finney, Turrell, Sarkies, Denyer, Strevens; Donnelly. Subs: R.Clayton (Symes 45), Pryor (Strevens 80), D.Clayton (Sarkies 106), Gillard, Proto.