A SECOND half hat-trick from Scott Tipper powered Arundel Football Club past the plucky challenge of division lower Mile Oak in the Peter Bentley Challenge Cup second round on Wednesday.
Oak, with Friday’s derby at Southwick in mind, left a number of regular first teamers on the bench but competed well and could count themselves a little hard done by to have been on the receiving end of a 5-2 defeat.
The difference between the sides was chances taken and Arundel, who play in the Southern Combination League Premier, showed their class in front of goal.
Mullets boss Simon Butler was pleased with this showing after some poor performances of late and said: “This was a very important win having not played at all well Saturday and I’ve not been pleased recently, but tonight I was.
“The pitch is a massive leveller and it’s never easy coming here and to be fair to them they made it hard for us but I was really pleased with the performance.
“We had four or five players out and had to play Josh Biggs as a centre-back, so all things considered it sets us up nicely for Horsham at the weekend.”
Oak started the better with Fernandes saving well from both Jamie Watts and Danny Curd early on.
Despite their first-half pressure, it was Arundel who took the lead five minutes short of the break.
Nathan DaCosta’s delightful cross was met by the head of Max Thoms and his effort found the top corner.
The impressive Jack Arnold was twice denied by Fernandes but Oak were level five minutes after the interval.
Watts picked up the ball on the right, rolled his marker and slid home a composed finish from close range.
Boutwood restored Arundel’s lead on 61 minutes when he beat Aaron Stenning at the near post with a well-struck driver, before Tipper then made it 3-1 from the spot.
Tipper then bagged his second 25 minutes from time as Arundel opened up a three-goal lead.
Oak pulled gave themselves a lifeline on 73 minutes as Nathan Loughlin tapped in a Curd flick from Arnold’s corner.
But any hopes of a comeback were extinguished nine minutes from time as Tipper completed his hat-trick with another header as Arundel booked their place in the next round.
Oak boss Anthony Whittington was disappointed with the goals his side conceded and said: “We played really well and had them on the back foot in the first half, but you can’t miss the chances and concede soft goals and expect to win.
“We were looking good at 1-1 and then they scored twice quickly and that’s killed us, when we got back to 4-2 we might have got back in the game but Scott Tipper is a quality player and caused us so many problems.
“Playing this match tonight and then again on Friday in a massive game is ridiculous and logic seems to have gone out the window, but our focus is on the upcoming league games.
“Tonight was always going to be a hard game and they deserved to win in the end.”
MILE OAK: Stenning; Lansdale, Gillingham, Garrod, Loughlin; Arnold, Pulling, Turley-George, Wedge-Bull; Watts, Curd. Subs: Dine (Wedge-Bull 68), Skinner (Watts 75), French (Garrod 82), McDonald, Hall.
ARUNDEL: Fernandes; N.Da Costa, Bibb, J.Biggs, L.Da Costa; Hooker-Meehan, Nicholson; Boutwood, Thoms, Clarke; Tipper. Subs: Jenkins (Clarke 79), Richards, Jarvis (Boutwood, Nicholson 83).
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