NYETIMBER Pirates fired themselves into the semi-finals of the Sussex Junior Cup with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over title rivals Stedham Utd on Arun Leisure Centre’s 3G pitch.
Pirates crashed out at this stage in the each of the past two seasons and this is the first time they have reached the semi-finals of the competition.
The sides last met on the first day of the season when Stedham came out on top with a 2-0 victory, but since that opening day defeat Pirates have won 18 on the spin and find themselves top of the West Sussex League division two south table one point ahead of rivals Stedham, who have one game in hand.
The wet weather has confined both sides to just two games in two months but were both determined to get the game played as they are each facing a late-season fixture pile-up as they challenge for the title.
Pirates took an early lead on six minutes when captain Phil Turner scored from the penalty spot after James Fallick was chopped down in the box just as he was about to pull the trigger.
Lewis Hamilton nearly brought the visitors level moments later when his long-range free-kick cannoned off the underside of the bar.
It was 2-0 to the Pirates after impressive trickery from Anders Wyatt allowed him to square the ball to Fallick in the six yard box and he left the keeper no chance.
Pirates continued to dominate the half against the wind and had a number of half-chances to extend the lead but they couldn’t quite convert them.
The pressing did pay off, though, moments before half-time when Sean Williamson’s mis-hit shot found the sliding Michael Frangou at the back post and he put the game out of reach just before the break.
The weather deteriorated in the second half and both sides struggled to get a real hold on the game with high winds ruining any decent passages of play.
But Stedham kept pressing and looked dangerous on the break and they finally struck back on 70 minutes with a long-range effort which left keeper Warren Pye with no chance.
Stedham continued to look for a second but the Pirates backline remained strong, cutting out any attacks before they came to anything.
Michael Frangou nearly put the game to bed in the dying moments as he rounded the keeper as the Pirates hit Stedham on the counter-attack, but his effort found the side netting
In the semis, Pirates will have to travel to Furnace Green Rovers or Forest.
PIRATES: Pye, Williamson, Gill, Dobbs, Bann, Wyatt, Cox, Turner, Pasterfield, Fallick, M Frangou. Subs: P Frangou, Shepherd, Towers.