Sussex Senior Cup Quarter Final Tue 14 February The Crucial Environmental Stadium
  • Akanbi (54', 84', 88', 90')
  • Colbran (76')
  • Pearce (68')
  • Forster (32')
  • Salter (49')

After two straight defeats in the league, the Reds were looking to bounce back against Crowborough in the Sussex Senior Cup Quarter-Final.

The Crows currently sit seventh in the SCFL Premier Division, three tiers below the Rebels, and came into the fixture off the back of a narrow 3-2 defeat away at Little Common on Saturday.

Adam Hinshelwood used the cup competition to rotate his squad, making five changes to the team that started against St. Albans on the weekend. The most notable addition was Mo Dabre, who made his first start since returning on loan from Swindon Town.

The first chance of the match fell to the Rebels when Liam Vincent’s cross to the far post found Ollie Pearce who couldn’t direct his shot on target.

Though it was the visitors who had the better of the first 20 minutes as they settled quickly into the cup contest. First, Harvey Killick threatened with a ball to the far post, but Beresford was on hand to clear the danger.

Quarter of an hour in, the Crows threatened twice in the space of a minute when Harrison Mayhew forced a save from Harrison Male before Ollie Hyland fired over from distance.

The Reds were struggling to make anything click and their start was summed up in the 21st minute when Josh Chambers’ dangerous cross from a free-kick evaded everyone in the area and rolled out for a goal-kick.

Akanbi threatened with a volley on the half-hour mark but Martin Grant was equal to it and parried it away from danger.

The Crows continued to pose a threat themselves though and took the lead on 32 minutes when Harry Forster ran onto a long ball down the right-hand side. Male rushed out to meet him but the forward calmly slotted it past the keeper and into the back of the net and the upset was on the cards.

Looking for an instant reply, Vincent’s low cross narrowly evaded Pearce who dove forward to try to meet it but couldn’t quite reach.

The Crows went into the interval with an unlikely lead and the Reds left themselves with plenty of work to do after a disappointing first-half display.

But it was a nightmare start to the second half for the Reds after Rory Salter struck his free-kick into the top right corner to double the visitors’ advantage less than five minutes into the half.

It took the Rebels no more than five minutes to get one back though. Lewis Thorn floated the ball out to Vincent on the left. The Pompey loanee squared to Akanbi who poked home from close range.

A minute later, Akanbi should have levelled things up. The Crows’ keeper Grant spilt a cross straight into the path of Akanbi, and with the net wide open, the frontman rushed his effort and fired over on the volley.

On 58 minutes, Hinshelwood rang the changes, turning to experience off the bench. Joel Colbran and Lewis White replaced Beresford and Vincent.

Seven minutes later, Thorn was forced off with an injury and was replaced by Finlay Chadwick.

With the Reds beginning to find their stride, Chadwick made an instant impact as he fed Pearce in behind the defence with a glorious pass. Pearce took it around Grant before slotting into the empty net to bring the Reds back onto level terms.

Soon after, the comeback was complete when the ball was cut back to Colbran inside the six-yard box, leaving him a chance he was never going to miss.

There was a scare for the Reds when Salter stepped over another free-kick for the visitors. This time his strike deflected off the wall and went narrowly wide of the upright.

But the Reds showed their class a couple of minutes later. Pearce was fed in behind the Crows’ defence once more and targeted the far post with a shot-come-cross which Akanbi tapped in for his second of the match.

Chambers could have further extended the lead a minute later when he was sent through, but his shot went narrowly wide.

Akanbi got his hattrick on 88 minutes after Colbran’s cross from the byline was cleared only as far as the forward who fired home.

He was through once more just a minute later and, full of confidence, looked to chip the keeper but couldn’t get enough height on it.

The man of the moment did get his fourth in additional time and what a strike it was! A left-footed effort from some 25 yards rifled into the top right corner to send Worthing on their way to the Semi-Finals in comprehensive fashion.

Next up is a trip to Oxford City on Saturday as the Rebels return to league action.