Musselmen usurp Barrowmen in Senior Cup
Alex Fair’s wonder strike ultimately settled a disappointing derby as the Barrowmen slipped to a tame cup exit at the hands of their local rivals.
Fair curled home a stunner nine minutes before the break – a moment of magic entirely out of keeping with a poor contest – to ensure Shoreham secured a minor shock over their division-higher rivals from up the A27.
To add to their turmoil, Gerry Murphy’s toothless Town ended the tie with ten men after substitute Austin Okolo was sent off late on for an ‘agricultural’ challenge on the edge of the Shoreham box.
There were two changes to the XI which lost to Lingfield last time out as Joe Fitzpatrick and debutant Cian Tilley came into the side in place of Rob Clark and Bobby Bennett, who dropped to the bench.
In truth, Mussels will feel they could, indeed should, have won by more, if not for a string of fine saves by keeper Jordan Hawkins. It was certainly not a classic as Steyning were beaten for the third game in a row. It was one of those games where it became clear it would be settled by either brilliance or a mistake and indeed so it proved.
The Steyning stopper was called into action early on to deny Jon Lansdale, and Harry Heath then dragged a shot wide from close range in a bright start from the hosts.
Tom Shelley had a shot blocked before, three days shy of Bonfire Night, Fair lit the blue touchpaper and illuminated Middle Road to spark the game into life on 36 minutes.
The much-travelled striker collected the ball wide on the left, cut inside and let fly with a 25-yarder which flew into the top corner and left the stranded Hawkins with no chance
Hawkins saved well to deny Heath and was then called upon again to tip wide from Mussels sub Scott Clampin.
Steyning hardly bared their teeth as an attacking force, with a Scott Murphy effort on the turn and Max Howell’s close range shot over the bar the visitors only real efforts of note.
With temperatures starting to plummet, the thought of extra-time was certainly not one to warm the cockles, but in the end there was to be no further drama – Okolo’s red card aside – as Shoreham held out to set up a meeting with Eastbourne Town in the next round.
Town: Hawkins; Faber, Bold, Fitzpatrick, Younger; Cousins, Murphy, Gathern, Bradley; Howell, Tilley. Subs: Okolo, Bennett, Hedayat.