Manager Micky Collins watched his Sevenoaks Town FC team beat Sheppey United 2-0 in the final of the Macron Southern Counties East League Challenge Cup Final on Saturday at the Longmead Stadium in Tonbridge.
After brushing aside Crowborough Athletic and Ashford Town in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively, the only two sides to finish above them in the league this season, Sevenoaks Town faced a Sheppey United side 16-points adrift of them after a very competitive and long season.
A lot must be said for playing a cup final close to your home ground, and Sevenoaks seemed to benefit from playing just down the road at Ryman Premier side Tonbridge Angels’ stadium. Match preparation and the organisation of travel just become that little bit easier which allows players and coaching staff more time to relax and think about the task ahead of them, which showed during the pre-match warm up.
In front of a 500-strong crowd, Harrison Carnegie opened the scoring for Town in the 3rd minute of the game after neatly finishing Kieron McCann’s cross. Sheppey United, with their swath of travelling supporters, did well to get themselves back into the match before halftime. However, with Town’s goalkeeper Robert French, seemingly in an unstoppable mood, United were unable to take advantage of their chances, with French making a number of saves to take a one-nil lead into the break.
The second half started in much the same fashion as the first, with Sevenoaks pushing their opponents further back up the field, creating numerous chances from both flanks. Sheppey responded once again, but with time running out even their fans chanting couldn’t help them get on the score sheet.
Billy Bennett finally settled the match with 12 minutes left on the clock to give Town a very well deserved cup victory. Micky Collins appeared pleased with his teams’ performance, as did the travelling supporters from seven miles up the road.
The Southern Counties East Football League is part of the National League System playing at steps 5&6.
Photos by Steve Rowley.