An enthralling match of ‘firsts’ for Peacehaven, saw them continue their incredible season with a fine 2-0 win against a very good Guernsey side.
In a season that has seen many new achievements for the ambitious south coast side, facing overseas opposition at home and having the match televised live across the internet, were two more landmarks.
Piddinghoe Avenue resembled St Peter’s Port on Saturday lunchtime, as the crowd was swelled by a sizeable contingent supporting the Channel Islanders on their travels.
Not usually known for its atmosphere, the Sports Park was brought alive with the cordial and good natured banter between the two sets of supporters pre-match.
With Monday’s cup semi-final in mind, manager Shaun Saunders gave home debuts to Sam Gargan up front and Sean Ray at the heart of the defence. Craig Richards was given the captain’s armband in the absence of Ash Jones who was named on the bench.
A very early chance fell for Dave Rihoy for the visitors but his shot went over the bar. Josh Jones for Haven went even closer with a shot that just scraped the bar with the keeper beaten.
Guernsey had two good opportunities but Anthony DiBenardo was out quick to smother one, and the other went safely past the post.
Tom Lawley & Tom Burton both drew excellent blocks to their efforts in a lively period before the half ended. Whilst Goal-less at half time it was very entertaining for the neutral.
The second half exploded into life thanks to Burton. Two minutes in and he latched onto a through ball in the box. His first shot was well saved by the keeper, but he hammered in the rebound for 1-0.
Guernsey then piled on the pressure and had an effort cleared off the line by Steve Metcalfe. From the corner another fine attempt hit the post.
Disaster next for Haven as referee Parsons harshly adjudged a ball to hand as a penalty. Guernsey’s leading scorer Ross Allen stepped up, but his shot was well saved by DiBernado.
With the Islanders having the best of the possession, a fine double save from DiBernado kept the hosts in front.
A quick attack from Haven found Gargan one-on-one with a defender. As he turned into the box the unlucky Angus Mackay was penalised for his tackle giving away a penalty.
Second half substitute Callum Saunders, calmly putting away the spot kick for 2-0.