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The London Sunday Challenge Cup, the top competition for Sunday football in the capital, reached a dramatic climax in front of hundreds of supporters at the weekend where Hatch Lane were in action representing the league, taking on Barnet Sunday League side Trabzonspor. Trabzonspor raced into a first minute lead, heading in a set piece to stun Hatch. It didn’t take long for Hatch to get into their groove, moving the ball around quickly but not really testing the keeper in the first half as the opposition defence stood firm.
After half time, Hatch began to look far more dangerous in the final third, finally rewarded for their increased intensity as a great cross was swung in and with the keeper under pressure, it presented a glorious opportunity to Hatch who made no mistake from six yards out! Things got better not long after as a set piece found it’s way to Jermaine Francis on the edge who sent a great strike into the top corner to earn his side a lead. Arnauchkov was sublime in the last quarter, making two exceptional stops to help his side over the line to win 2-1 and take the trophy!
Many congratulations to all involved at Hatch Lane in what has been a truly remarkable season for the club.
DIVISION FOUR CUP
The Friday night action over the weekend came from Aveley where Singh Sabha Barking and Romford Athletic Dons were in action to battle it out for the Division Four Cup silverware. An entertaining first half saw a glut of goals with Singh Sabha ahead after just ten minutes, netting from close range but Dons were back in it almost immediately as a cross from the right was headed in perfectly at the far post to bring it level. Just five minutes later, Singh Sabha regained their lead, benefitting from a set piece to fire into the bottom corner. Cue another equaliser just moments later as Dons netted the goal of the game on the half hour – a wonderful volley fired past the keeper to make it 2-2! The second half saw Singh Sabha again once more in the 55th minute with a close range finish handing them the advantage and they looked the more likely as fitness levels began to be tested. As Dons pushed for a leveller, Singh Sabha broke away and were awarded a penalty in stoppage time which was converted well to end the game and complete the double! Rajan Sangha, Jag Rathore, Indervir Virdi and Sebastian Osei-Obengo were the men on target for Singh Sabha.
DIVISION FIVE CUP
As if Friday night’s game wasn’t exciting enough, Sunday’s Division Five Cup Final was a terrific contest as Belfry Reserves and Byron Red Star went in search of cup glory at Mayesbrook Park in front of a big crowd. Despite being the lower ranked side in the contest, Byron were ahead in just the fourth minute with Morris tucking away a great delivery from six yards out. But Belfry were level just over ten minutes later as the forward made no mistake to slot away in a one on one. But Morris headed in his second on the half hour for Byron to re-establish the lead. A great strike just before the break for Belfry pulled them level, firing in a half volley to make it 2-2 at the break. The second half started as the first had, O’Connell firing home the third to make it 3-2. Belfry once again battled back and got a deserved equaliser on the 73 minute mark with a clever finish bring the sides level again! But with time running out, an Adeshina strike from the edge found the net to win the cup for Byron, 4-3 the final scoreline!
Away from the drama of the weekend’s cup final action, the Division Two standings were completed with St Augustines rounding off a terrific league campaign with another success, beating Korona Redbridge 4-0 in Barkingside. Callum Daniels extended his scoring record with another hat-trick, Olamide Dele-Adeniyi netting the other in a solid Saints showing.
The Division Three action is now all complete as the remaining game in the division was played out on Sunday as champions Debden Sports Reserves took on Upshire Forest at Chigwell Lane. Antonio Vullo was on the scoresheet for the hosts but Riley Bowers’ effort for Upshire meant that the teams shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw, a decent campaign for both clubs.
The race for the title in Division Five is still ongoing! Valence United went into their double header against United Borough knowing that anything but six points would be terminal but they managed to do what they needed. They were 4-1 victors in game one as two from Rowan Newland and one each from Callum Brown and Aaron Legget gave them the points. Game two was a little more comfortable as Newland scored a hat-trick, Josh Russell, Burt Cardy, Michael O’Brien and Tommy Abrams also on the scoresheet in a 7-2.