O’Toole bags a hat-trick but soon there would be nothing to celebrate

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Below is the match report ALEX PANTON wrote on Saturday’s game between Peacehaven and Worthing United, which the Tye won 5-1 and Connor made a poignant final appearance as substitute. This report was written on Saturday evening, before the terrible events that would lead to Connor Saunders’ death.

PEACEHAVEN ended their home campaign with a superb appearance to sweep aside Worthing United. Playing some of their best football of the season they were too good for their visitors, who are still not safe from relegation, and will be full of confidence ahead of tomorrow’s showdown with champions elect Three Bridges.

Some of the football they played in the second half was was good as has been seen at Piddinghoe Avenue for at least two years, and a reward for Sean Saunders faith in a group of players who at times have struggled to fit together this term. With all his injured players now available again he will be increasingly confident ahead of next season.

The line up was unchanged from the side who had fought back from two goals behind to draw with Shoreham on Easter Monday, which meant Ryan Bradley again started on the bench. He was joined by Craig Bunch and Connor Saunders, both returning from injury.

Peacehaven took an early lead when Carl Dunk crossed for Rob O’Toole, who was initially denied by a fine save from Callum Christie, but reacted quickly to slam home the rebound. The Tye were perhaps guilty of sitting back after that and allowed the visiting side to seize the initiative towards the end of the half. They drew level when a low corner wasn’t dealt with and former Seaford man Tom Chapman bundled the ball home. Peacehaven reassurted themselves at the start of the second half and it wasn’t long before they regained the lead, with what was surely their goal of the season. Wes Millis long cross field pass was met by Dunk, who knocked on for O’Toole to volley in his second of the day. Between defence and attack the ball had not touched the ground and it was the kind of skill and technique you rarely see at this level of football. O’Toole had hand in Peacehaven’s third goal, with defender Ben Putland deflecting his shot into his own net. The home side were now rampant and extended their lead through Dunk, before O’Toole completed his hat trick and the scoring, tapping home from Matt Hill’s well directed cross.

TYE: Heyburn, Hall, Hill, Fleming (Saunders), Millis, Kneller, O’Toole, Dunk, Rees (Bradley), Murray (Bunch), Dudson.