Ratton Rangers’ all conquering nder-13s became the first Eastbourne team to win the u13 County Cup in 20 years as they defeated Chichester City 2-0 on Sunday.
The talented Ratton youngsters, who had earlier in the week retained their Sussex Sunday Division One league title with three games to spare, went to Lancing looking for an historic double against their West Sussex opponents.
On a bumpy County HQ pitch it was always going to be tough against their physical opponents but Ratton dominated the game from the off and managed to play some exciting football regardless of the conditions and had the far better of the opening exchanges leaving their opponents desperately throwing bodies in front of goal to deny them an early goal.
Ratton were rarely troubled during this spell but Chichester’s direct approach did force keeper Steve Beasley into action as he tipped over a long ball flick on.
However Ratton’s insistence on trying to play football eventually paid off when good combination play between Jake Hutchinson and Moyo Daramola released Tom Chalaye who rifled home a right foot shot into the bottom corner to give Ratton the lead on 22 minutes.
Despite dominating for long periods Ratton were unable to add to their lead as Hutchinson, Daramola and Tom Collins all went close but they survived a scare of their own when another long clearance evaded the defence and a looped effort was spectacularly cleared off the line by Charlie Barnard to keep the lead in tact.
The second half saw the game get a little scrappy as neither side seemed able to deal with the reduced size pitch but it was Ratton who always looked the livelier as Jack Samways, Hutchinson and Chalaye all had chances to wrap the game up and it was only a matter of time before a second goal arrived for Ratton.
When it did it, it came in the shape of top scorer Hutchinson who found time and space in the box following a free kick to calmly slot past the keeper with 15 mins remaining for his 23rd goal of the season.
With Chichester unable to breach the excellent Ratton back three, Ratton dominated for the remainder of the game and threatened several times to add to their tally, but to their credit Chichester never gave up and made it a nervy last few minutes before Ratton were finally crowned champions of Sussex!
The success, following last season’s triumph at under-14 level, means Ratton Rangers are, for the second season running, Eastbourne’s only Sussex County Cup winners cementing their place as currently being Eastbourne’s most successful grassroots football club.
The Eastbourne club will hope the same group of players can continue their success and claim further glory next season.