Ringmer 3 Peacehaven 4 (after extra time) John O’Hara Cup

This John O’Hara Cup encounter offered very little for the soccer purist but plenty for lovers of the cut and thrust of a typical British cup tie. Straight from the kick off Peacehaven demonstrated their intent with a very physical display that disrupted Ringmer’s normal style. A very scrappy first half ensued not helped by frequent and lengthy stoppages for injuries. The Blues were pegged back in their own half for much of the half and it was much against the run of play that they went ahead after the half hour mark when Joe Dryer’s cross was deflected into the net at the near post by Peacehaven’s Craig Hall. Ringmer’s hero of the first half was goalkeeper Jack Stern who was called upon to make a number of saves that denied the visitors a goal until the last minute of the seven minutes added on for stoppages at the end of the half. Peacehaven were awarded a penalty for a trip inside the penalty area and Callum Saunders levelled the scores putting his spot kick beyond the reach of Stern who by now was clearly struggling with the effects of an earlier injury.

Peacehaven carried their high tempo game into the second half and continued to deny Ringmer the time and space to move the ball around the park. It was no surprise when the visitors took the lead in the seventieth minute with Ritchie Watton firing the ball into the net via the underside of the bar. However, two minutes later Ringmer were awarded a penalty for handball and Simon Greatwich stepped up to score the equaliser. In a last throw of the dice Ringmer brought on Aaron Last, normally a centre back, on as striker. Three minutes into nine minutes of stoppage time this appeared to have been a master stroke by Bob Munnery as Last fired home between visiting keeper Owen Fisher and his near post to put the Blues ahead. But the drama was far from over, as three minutes later Saunders sent the tie into extra-time with his second goal of the game.

Both sides needed headed clearances off the goal-line to keep the scores level in the the first period of extra-time. With thoughts turning to a possible replay Ringmer’s Dan Craghill was sent off for retaliation giving Peacehaven a man advantage for the last ten minutes of the game. With Ringmer’s defence fully stretched Lee Baker broke clear on the right wing to settle the tie some four minutes from time.