Extra-time agony for United as visitors finish with a flurry

Peter Featherstone clears his lines against Littlehampton on Saturday
Peter Featherstone clears his lines against Littlehampton on Saturday
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United’s 10 game unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday after they suffered an extra-time defeat to Littlehampton Town at The Oval in the Division Two Challenge Cup.

The fixture started off as a bit of a sparring match, with Littlehampton enjoying more controlled possession but not causing many problems. United looked more dangerous on the counter attack with Liam Baitup closest to opening the scoring when he lobbed onto the top of the crossbar.

United gradually began to get a grip on the game and were awarded a penalty when Jack Divall was tripped in the area as he attempted to weave his way through the visiting defence. Pete Cooper stepped up for the resulting penalty and went for power as he gave United the lead.

United now became the dominant side and extended their lead on the hour as Cooper headed home his second of the match, the strikers eleventh goal in his last nine fixtures.

Littlehampton pulled a goal back on 73 minutes and ensured an exciting close to the match when a right wing cross was scrambled in at far post by Ashley Harper.

Littlehampton threw men forward and forced Adam Sargent into some good saves, but on 90 minutes Lee Garnham fired in the equaliser to send the tie into extra-time.

United dominated the first period of extra-time but failed to score. But with the second period of extra-time just minute old, George Gaskin stooped to head in a low right wing cross at the near post as Littlehampton took the lead for the first time in the fixture.Four minutes later, Gaskin made it 4-2.

United restored hope with three minutes to go when young Ben Farrant went in bravely with the ‘keeper as the ball ended up in the back of the net.

On 120 minutes, Littlehampton sealed the win when Mitchell Hand fired in a penalty after Sargent had been harshly judged to have brought down Gaskin.

UNITED: Sargent; Filsell, Del-Gaudio, Denton, Featherstone (c), Stracey, Divall, Bunn (Legate 60), Cooper, Baitup, Barden (Farrant 87)