Steyning lift first trophy in 30 years after 'comfortable' win

Gerry Murphy
Gerry Murphy

Steyning Town manager Gerry Murphy celebrated a 'comfortable' victory for his side after they lifted their first trophy in 30 years, beating Wick in the SCFL Division One Challenge Cup final.

Ben Bacon headed the Barrowmen in front inside two minutes before notching a second just after half-time and Rob Clark curled in a third on the hour-mark.

It went from bad to worse for Wick when Kieron Playle-Howard was sent off for a dangerous tackle before Alfie Gritt added a fourth, rounding off a commanding display in which Wick rarely troubled.

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Murphy praised his team for sticking to the gameplan, despite the warm weather. He said: “Promotion’s the main thing but obviously winning the cup is great for us. We worked really hard getting an early goal as it settled the game down a little bit.

“We knew what we had to do, we knew we needed to try and keep a clean sheet, like we have done throughout the season. We model ourselves defensively, lead by the skipper [Joe Fitzpatrick], who is unreal.”

Promotion-chasing Steyning were favourites heading into the tie, having already done the double over their opponents in the league, and the Reds got off to a dream start.

Man-of-the-match Mayckol Sabino’s whipped cross inside two minutes found an unmarked Bacon and the striker head past Keelan Belcher to open the scoring.

Sabino and Ross Myers continued to test Belcher, both hitting the target soon after, as Wick attempted to soak up the pressure.

Alex Ansa-McIntyre had one of only a handful of first-half chances for Wick when Terry Dodd laid him in after outmuscling Fitzpatrick on the 22nd minute, however Ansa-McIntyre skied his effort over the bar.

Steyning showed no sign of letting up after the break as Bacon notched his second, heading in from a Myers corner five minutes after the restart.

Clark added a terrific third on the 62nd minute, his curling strike clipping the bar, before Wick went down to ten men when Playle-Howard was sent off for a reckless tackle on Scott Faber.

Gritt rounded off a convincing display, knocking in a fourth from substitute Connor Bull’s lay off, in the 77th minute.

With Steyning ending a 30-year search for silverware, manager Murphy has set his sights on securing the club’s first promotion to the top tier of Sussex County Football in over 40 years.

Murphy said: “We need to win on Monday and see where that takes us. With a bit of luck that could be enough, but we’re setting out to win two games and then we guarantee the promotion.”

Steyning travel to relegation-threatened Worthing United on Easter Monday before travelling to Littlehampton Town next Saturday (April 27).

Teams: Wick – K Belcher, J Chaplin (Church – 60’), J Bingham, N Ediker, R Barratt ©, D Cox, A Ansa-McIntyre, K Playle-Howard, T Dodd, C Milner, S Brazil (Hope – 67’)

Subs – A Cox, B Hauxwell, G Church, W Lintott, T Hope

Steyning Town – J Banasco-Zaragoza, R Clark, J Maher, S Faber (Bull – 73’), J Fitzpatrick , A Gathern ©, M Sabino, Z Haulkham (Hunter – 73’), B Bacon, R Myers, A Gritt (Taylor – 83’)

Subs – A Fair, C Bull, L Hunter, D Thompson, D Taylor