Sheppey United are the 2021/22 Challenge Cup winners after today’s 5-2 Final win against Crowborough Athletic.
Billy Bennett scored the opener for Sheppey late in the first half while Dean Grant struck twice early in the second to put the game beyond Crowborough, who kept it interesting with two goals from Lucas Murrain inbetween Jefferson Aibangbee’s fine effort.
Warren Mfula completed the 5-2 scoreline in the last minute to earn Sheppey United their 4th trophy of 2022.
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Here is how the teams made it through to the final…
Route to the Final – Crowborough Athletic
3-0 v Rusthall
3-2 v Greenways
3-0 v Erith & Belvedere
5-1 v Chatham Town
1-1 v Glebe
1-0 v Glebe
Crowborough Athletic began their journey to the final back in December when hosting Rusthall.
They showed their intention for this competition from the off by racing into a 3-0 lead by the break, with Harry Osborne, Elliott Duncan and Ollie Hyland all scoring.
A goalless second half saw the Crows comfortably progress to Round Two, and a trip to Greenways.
At Cobdown, Crowborough were heading for victory thanks to goals from Joe Tyrie and Jacob Lambert until their hosts netted an injury time leveller.
All that did was just delay the inevitable though and with a Lucas Murrain’s extra-time winner put the Premier Division side through.
In Round Three high-flying Erith & Belvedere were the visitors to Crowborough’s Community Stadium.
They were to be no match for the determined hosts though as a double from Elliott Duncan and another from Jacob Lambert completed an impressive 3-0 victory.
Chatham Town were next-up for Crowborough in a Quarter-Final tie that few would have fancied them to progress through.
The Chats had their eyes on other silverware though and their understrength team were soundly beaten by the rampant Crows.
It was 5 goals and 5 different scorers for Crowborough, with Harry Osborne, Elliott Duncan, Oli Styles, Regan Bowden and Lucas Murrain all finding the net.
Glebe would await in a two-legged semi-final.
Lucas Murrain got the Crows off to the perfect start when scoring early on in the first leg home tie.
They would not be taking a lead to Foxbury though as Jamie Philpot’s late goal meant Glebe would go into the second leg as favourites to reach the final.
However, Crowborough had not read the script.
A tight affair was settled by a 50th minute Lucas Murrain goal, leaving their fancied-hosts empty-handed for the season and Crowborough Athletic through to the Challenge Cup Final.
Route to the Final – Sheppey United
2-0 v Bearsted
2-0 v Kennington
4-2 v Deal Town
2-1 v Sutton Athletic
5-2 v Sutton Athletic
Most of Sheppey United’s progression through this competition has come on the road, with just the home tie of their two-legged semi-final being played on their own newly-laid surface at Holm Park.
It all started just before Christmas when the Ites visited fellow Premier Division side Bearsted.
A goal on debut from Kris Newby followed a Billy Bennet opener and with the 2-0 win Sheppey were through to Round Two.
There they would also claim a 2-0 win on the road, this time against Kennington FC.
Dean Grant and Luke Griffiths got the goals as Sheppey remained on course for a unique quadruple of trophies.
Cup specialists Deal Town would be next for Sheppey United and a crowd of over 400 turned up to watch.
The Hoops raced into a 2-0 lead before Billy Bennett and Dean Grant levelled the scores before the break.
Centre-back Ashley Sains doesn’t score often but in this second half he found the net twice! Sheppey won 4-2 and a semi-final place was theirs.
In the last four, Sutton Athletic were the opponents for Sheppey with the home leg first-up.
Goals either side of the break from Max Oldham and Warren Mfula set the Ites on the way but Conor Evans pulled one back leaving this tie far from over.
That’s was proven in the second leg when Arlie Desanges scored for Sutton, giving them a half-time lead on the night, with the tie now level with 45 minutes to play.
That forced Sheppey to find top gear, which they did, and thanks to doubles from Warren Mfula and Michael Hagan, plus another from Billy Bennett a place in another Cup final was all theirs.