Peacehaven reached the semi finals of the John O’Hara Cup after yet another extended evening at Piddinghoe Avenue.
For the third successive Wednesday, it took 120 minutes to settle a cup tie, and the effects of such a punishing schedule were evident as Haven laboured to a narrow win, writes Alex Panton. A moment of magic from Kane Louis, once one of the highest profile players in the league but latterly a peripheral figure, salvaged a win after a gruelling battle against division two oppostion.
Penalties were beckoning when Louis won the ball in midfield and advanced forward before driving home the winning goal from outside the box. There was no disguising the relief for Haven, who had been their own worst enemies all night.
Having dropped points at Crowborough thanks to a defensive error, Haven again shot themselves in the foot as Bexhill took an surprise lead. Joe Adams came rushing out but failed to clear convincingly, and was stranded as Martin Denny provided a composed finish.
Peacehaven offered little attacking threat in the first half, and it was only with the introduction of Charlie Walker that they started to force the visitors back. Walker, who has been continuing to impress at Ryman League Whitehawk, is clearly a cut above this league, and it was no surprise when he levelled the scores with a smart finish from outside the box.
Haven had a succession of chances before they finally edged in front thanks to a close range header from Rob O’Toole, but they then self-destructed again. A speculative cross was allowed to bounce in the area before Wayne Dunstall seized his chance to draw Utd level.
There was a groan from the frozen masses as yet more extra time began, and another groan when O’Toole failed to score from right under the crossbar.
But when Louis finally put Peacehaven back in the lead, Bexhill’s resolve was broken.