Battle boss lauds ‘unreal’ players after national cup win

Battle Baptists manager Kyle Mann gets a drenching from Steve McGowan during the post-match celebrations. Picture by Simon Newstead
Battle Baptists manager Kyle Mann gets a drenching from Steve McGowan during the post-match celebrations. Picture by Simon Newstead

Battle Baptist Football Club manager Kyle Mann said his players were ‘unreal’ after winning the National Christian Cup.

The East Sussex Football League runners-up lifted the prestigious trophy for the second time in three seasons after defeating a very good St Sebastians side 2-0 in yesterday’s (Saturday’s) final at The Valley, home of Charlton Athletic FC.

Mann said: “What a day that was. The emotions were so up and down throughout the game. We came to enjoy our day as a club, win or lose, and thankfully it made it even better by us winning.

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“The players were unreal. Every single one of them did their job today and didn’t stop running against an unbelievable side.

“I’m not going to single any players out today as everyone was immense. I’m so proud of them all; we have grown to be such a great team unit and look forward to the future.”

Battle overcame their Liverpool-based opponents thanks to splendid goals towards the end of either half from Jamie Lindsay and Josh Pickering, coupled with a resolute defensive display.

The result avenged a 5-1 defeat away to the same opposition in last season’s semi-finals - the only match Battle have lost in the competition during the last three seasons.

“The first 20 minutes I was really worried and could see why we had lost in the semi last year,” continued Mann, who took charge of Battle last summer.

“St Sebastians are by far the best team we have played this season. The football was unreal and we couldn’t get near them to start with. We just knew that we had to hang on in there and defend for our lives.

“The two goals from Jamie and Josh were both just at the right time of the game. That strike from 25 yards from Jamie was good enough to win any cup final - it was right out the top drawer.

“Josh did what Josh does best. He killed the team off when we needed that hit of finishing quality.”

Mann also praised Battle’s two coachloads of travelling supporters, and the work of the team’s coaches.

He added: “I want to say a special thank you to the supporters today - they were unreal and really helped get us over line.

“The coaches deserve this for all their hard work, especially Dale (Hendy) and Steve (McGowan).”

This is the 27th season of the National Christian Cup and Battle are the only club from south of Hertfordshire ever to have won it.