Billingshurst FC brought the curtain down on their season by lifting the Vernon Wentworth Cup after a 4-1 win over Clymping in the Worthing final last night (Wednesday).
Three of Hurst’s goals came directly from Remi Thomas corners - Pete Proto, Ollie Lambkin and Marcus Strevens all profiting - before Luke Hickling wrapped up a comfortable victory late on.
Clymping only briefly threatened to get back into the game when Jordan Farrell pulled it back to 2-1 in the second half, but a Hurst goal soon after killed off their hopes and they ended the game with ten men.
Billingshurst boss Mark Betts said: “I’m delighted to have won, we played very well against a very direct and physical Clymping side and scoring the early goal helped us settle and not have to force it.
“It’s a very fitting way for us to end a very good season and it made up for last year’s defeat in the same cup final.
“It was the one game where we didn’t do ourselves justice but this time around I think we’ve shown everybody watching what we’re about.”
Billingshurst had beaten Clymping home and away in their league meetings but finished just one place above them in the final Division Three standings.
Betts’ side made the best possible start when, with only six minutes gone defender Proto nodded in a corner at the second time of asking after the Clymping keeper had parried his initial effort.
Hurst were two up after 33 minutes in almost identical circumstances - this time it was fellow centre back Lambkin who stole in at the back post to nod home Thomas’s corner.
The Horsham District side didn’t have things all their own way however, and Hurst goalkeeper Tom Betts produced a fabulous sprawling save to somehow keep out a volley to maintain his side’s 2-0 lead at half time.
Clymping pulled a goal back on 55 minutes, full back Chris Simmons robbed in the build up before Jordan Farrell produced a deft finish over goalkeeper Betts.
But any hope of a comeback were virtually instantly extinguished when, from another Thomas corner the ball struck Strevens in a scramble and ended up in the back of the net.
With the pace of Thomas, Hickling and Strevens up top Hurst were finally able to stretch their opponents, and Clymping midfielder Paul Hodder then saw red when he lashed out at Nick Tilley and was given his marching orders.
“He was a good midfielder but Tilley had decided he was going to boss the midfield and he seemed to get frustrated at Nick getting the better of him,” Betts asserted.
With the game all but won Hurst put the icing on the cake with the goal of the game right at the end. It actually came about from a fine 80-yard run from the Clymping full-back, who had been tracked all the way by substitute Ryan Carse.
Carse robbed the ball outside his own box and set off on his own dart in the opposite direction. He fed Thomas out on the left, who was “assaulted” as he cut inside but with the referee playing a good advantage he picked out Hickling on the opposite flank with a terrific pass, and the winger did the rest by beating his man and slamming a shot across the keeper and in at the far post.
Hurst: Betts; Simmons (Geary 80), Groves, Proto, Lambkin (McLeanon 85); Hickling, Thomas, Carter, Tilley; Annis, Strevens (Carse 65).