Sydenhams League Cup: Christchurch FC 2-2 Hythe & Dibden (Christchurch FC win 4-3 on pens)
CHRISTCHURCH FC survived a scare to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Sydenhams League Cup with victory over Hythe & Dibden.
Two goals from Church’s Luke Stone put the hosts ahead, but they were pegged back by a brace from Zac Willis. Christchurch sealed the deal with a 4-3 shootout win after regular time.
Church got off to a perfect start at Hurn Bridge Sports Ground when Stone rifled home within 30 seconds to leave the visitors shell-shocked. The hosts doubled their lead on 25 minutes as Stone connected with a low fizzing cross. His effort slid under Hythe’s Josh Cotton and into the corner of the net.
However, their advantage was short-lived as Willis received the ball inside the box and fired past Lewis Gunstone-Grey to make it 2-1. Hythe had a strong penalty claim minutes later, but the referee waved away their appeals as they went into the break behind.
In the second half, Hythe got back into the game and showed why they are top of Sydenhams Division One. They equalised on 73 minutes through Willis who scored his second of the game.
The game went to penalties, and keeper Gunstone-Grey proved to be the hero with two saves as Christchurch won 4-3 in the shootout.
Christchurch boss Ollie Cherrett told the A&T: “We started the game well and scored inside 30 seconds. I thought we controlled the first half well. Hythe are a decent side and always carried a threat.
“I felt in the second half we looked tired and took our eye off the game, and Hythe deservedly got the equaliser.”
Cherrett also praised Gunstone-Grey for his brilliant performance: “Penalties are a lottery, but we have Lewis who is full of confidence and playing well, so I was pleased he put us through.”
Christchurch play Falmouth Town on Saturday in the FA Vase third round at Hurn Bridge Sports Club. Tickets are £6, and AFC Bournemouth season ticket holders will receive half-price tickets.
Other midweek results
Lymington Town were knocked out of the Sydenhams League Cup after a 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth Poppies.
Walton Casuals striker Rene Howe scored a late equaliser to deny Blackfield & Langley three points at Gang Warily Recreation Ground. Georges Cathline Yobo and Sam Griffin scored for the Watersiders in the first half while Cheyce Grant claimed Walton’s first goal.