On Thursday evening, the Whitehawk U18’s will make their first appearance in the Sussex County FA Under 18 Cup Final against Newhaven FC U18’s, who are also making their first appearance in the final of the competition.

The two sides have already met each other this season in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup at Newhaven’s Trafalgar Ground with The Hawks running out 6-0 winners, with James Waters (3), Adam Carrie, Lewis Broughton and Jordan Pryor scoring. However, The Dockers have improved significantly since that match and Manager Kieran Ridley has taken his side to just 1 game away from winning their league, a winner-takes-all clash against AFC Uckfield Town this Sunday.

U18 Manager Jude Macdonald has lifted the trophy once before as a player. In 2006 he was a part of the Eastbourne Town side that beat Eastbourne Borough 2-0. Being interviewed before the game by the Sussex FA, Jude said “I think it will be a great final. Newhaven are a good side and Kieran [Ridley], their manager, is an excellent coach. Winning is important but really at this level it’s about the players enjoying their football and learning and developing,” he said. “Playing games is the easy part, its recruitment and getting the players to turn up and train hard that’s the more difficult bit. No doubt the boys would say I’m moody but I try to keep a smile on my face and always be enthusiastic.”

The Hawks’ journey to the final began way back in September against Sedlescombe Rangers and despite being 2-0 down, they came back to win 7-4 with George Coltherd-Walls getting on the scoresheet an impressive 4 times, alongside Rob Deda, James Waters and Dom Hemblade. In the next round they saw off Worthing United Colts 5-1 with 5 different goal scorers. They faced league rivals Burgess Hill Town in the next round and the match went all the way to penalties with The Hawks ending up as 5-4 winners following a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes, Billy Barker with our only goal in the game.

The Quarter Finals saw another match at Home, this time against Roffey. The match was a close affair with The Hawks riding their luck, but they ended up as 2-1 winners with James Waters scoring, along with an Own Goal. The Semi-Finals saw them take on Pagham, which proved to be an incredibly eventful match. Pagham took the lead in the First Half, but things got even worse for The Hawks midway through the Second Half following the dismissals of George Coltherd-Walls and Goalkeeper Jordan Hawkins in the space of three minutes, but James Waters calmly converted an 89th minute penalty to send the game into Extra Time. Pagham took an early lead in Extra Time, but Fintan Walsh levelled it up two minutes later. The match went to penalties which remarkably The Hawks won 7-6 to send them through to the final.

Newhaven’s journey to the final began at Westfield with The Dockers winning 5-1, before they received a home walkover in the next round as Wadhurst were unable to raise a side. Next up was a 3-2 win away at Hassocks, followed by a 3-0 win against Wick. In the semi-final, a narrow 1-0 win against AFC Varndeanians was enough to see them through to the Final.

Whitehawk FC U18s will take on Newhaven FC U18s on Thursday 6th April at Culver Road, Lancing (Sussex County FA HQ) with a 7.15PM KO. Entry prices are as follows –

£3.00 Adult (17+)
£2.00 Concession (65+ and students with valid student ID card)
FREE Child (16 and under)