Sunset Football Club eclipsed a Premier League side in the FA Cup over the weekend and judging by the First Division leaders’ current form they could do it again in the next round.
Top of the First Division table Sunset took on Premiership Cayman Athletic in the FA Cup on Saturday at the TE McField Annex Stadium and recorded a 1-0 victory thanks to a Jonny McLaughlin goal in the 25th minute.
Sunset, who welcomed back McLaughlin from injury and Joel Edwards, were looking forward to playing Athletic and desperate to prove that the gap between themselves and the Premier Division teams is not profound.
Sunset executed their game plan from the start. Athletic, playing with the wind, relied on the long ball and Sunset’s back line of Jenkinson, Roberton, O’Connell and Bellfield found their opponents relatively easy to deal with.
Sunset coped with everything Athletic conjured up, which was not much in the early stages and Lee Parry, the Sunset keeper, was in commanding form.
In the second half, Athletic rallied and produced a couple of half chances, but Parry was in dominant form.
In the dying moments, Sunset’s Darien Montague, who had replaced the influential Paul Hennessey, could have wrapped the game up. He ran the ball from the half way line, cut inside the box and with only the keeper to beat shot tamely at the keeper’s legs who managed to scramble the ball away.
Five minutes of stoppage time was played even though referee Manny Brown had signalled two minutes to the bench. But even the extra minutes were not enough for Cayman Athletic.
Sunset deserved the victory and now go into the second round on 14 April. Manager Gareth Thacker said, “The team is becoming stronger and with many players returning from injury it makes selection even more difficult.
“All the guys played their part, a great win against a Premier team and everyone is looking forward to the league game against Roma on 6 April.”
Thacker said Sunset are doing well this season, thanks to their squad’s depth of quality.
“The players worked very hard in our nine weeks of preseason training and as a squad we have been training with attention to detail, working on set pieces and practicing unit play,” Thacker said.
“Training has been both varied and well planned and we have had good numbers to both sessions each week.
“Regarding the league, we obviously want to finish in first position, but we are taking nothing for granted.
“Roma are three points behind us and we play them in our next league game. We are aware that Roma are a good team on their day so we know that we have to be better.
“This season has been very much a team effort but Parry and Ian Roberton have been outstanding.
“Paul Hennessey in his first season with the club has been very influential in midfield, too.
“In truth though, all the players have made great contributions in the games and have improved both technically and mentally as the season has progressed.”
“We would like to thank our Sponsor Mepco who we have had a very good relationship with for the past two seasons.
“There are even rumours that if we win the league, the club president Rob Jenkinson will be flying the squad to Las Vegas for a long weekend!”
Sunset always bring over a British sports star every year to help raise money. Last year it was Bryan Robson and previously they’ve had Frank Bruno, Jack Charlton, Geoff Hurst and Peter Shilton.
Sunset’s main fundraising event this year will be the Ray Wilkins Weekend on 25 and 26 May. Wilkins started his career with Chelsea and also played for Manchester United, AC Milan, PSG, QPR and Glasgow Rangers. The midfielder was capped 84 times by England.