Another fixture for Saunders’ men as Peacehaven make it to John O’Hara Cup final

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Peacehaven made it into the final of the John O’Hara Leaue Cup with a fine 4-2 win over Shoreham on Tuesday night.

But, as Alex Panton reports here, a day out at a cup final isn’t necessarily what the doctor ordered for a team fighting for the county league title and with time running out to complete their fixtures before the end of the season.

Alex writes: Just what Peacehaven needed – another fixture! Still, it’s unlikely anyone at Piddinghoe Avenue will be complaining about reaching the club’s first cup final for three seasons, a fixture which sets up a potential dream end to the season.

If they can keep winning, or others fail to match the pace, Peacehaven remain on track to complete a league and cup double. On Tuesday they certainly seemed on course for that goal.

After an unsettled few weeks they seem to have regained their swagger at the right time, and were far too strong for a determined but limited Shoreham side.

Apart from a brief spell in the second half they were largely untroubled, and Shaun Saunders must have been delighted that a potentially bruising encounter was negotiated without undue alarm.

Saunders had again named Craig Bunch in his starting line up against the Mussles, who were somewhat fortunate to have reached this stage after Sidley were thrown out of the competition for fielding an ineligible player. They have been improving in recent weeks and ,with the likes of Mark Pulling, Dan Jordan and Gareth Green in the side, could not be taken lightly.

As so often recently Peacehaven started quickly and wasted little time opening the scoring. Shoreham’s offside trap was highly unconvincing, and it was soon sprung by Wes Tate, who calmly slotted past James Shaw. Shoreham reacted quickly and it took a fine stop from Joe Adams to prevent Alex Howell levelling the score.

Peacehaven thought they’d extended their lead when Rob O’Toole followed up from Bunch’s header, but his shot was ruled not to have crossed the goal line. How anyone knew was a bit mysterious, as an accumulation of sand in the goalmouth had rendered the goal-line largely invisible!

Shoreham had done well to restrict Peacehaven to one goal, but self destructed at the start of the second half, as their defence parted to allow Carl Dunk a free run on goal, where he comfortably beat Shaw.

An unchallenged O’Toole header from a corner appeared to have wrapped things up, before two strikes from Pulling, with the second from the penalty spot, propelled Shoreham back into the contest.

Their comeback was short lived though, and again they were caught on the counter attack, with O’Toole tapping in his second of the night at the back post.

Peacehaven can now concentrate on securing the title.

TYE: Adams, Hall, Hill, Jones, Gunn (Millis), Swetman, O’Toole, Dunk (Rees), Bunch (Burton), Dryer.