Newhaven Ladies 1 v 0 Eastbourne United Women
Scorer: Lauren Smith
Newhaven Ladies secured their first home win of the season in a crucial game against second bottom Eastbourne United on Sunday with a solitary goal from top scorer Lauren Smith.
Following on from the Dockers last match where they drew 1-1 with Parkwood they were looking to build on this performance despite a gap of three weeks.
The opening ten minutes saw the home start brightly and were enjoying possession deep in the visitors half with particular joy down the right hand side where Katie Franks was pushing forward into dangerous areas. It was Franks who had the first chance when played in by Paige Ripley but the shot was just wide.
This was followed by a shot from Duchossoy from distance which went just wide as Newhaven began to build some pressure. Eastbourne were playing on the break but the Dockers defence , well marshalled by Godden, were giving very little away.
Lauren Smith then had the next chance as she was played in by Ellie Coade but the shot from wide settled on the roof of the net.
However with twenty minutes gone it was Smith who broke the deadlock. As Newhaven played from the back a pass set back to Imy Sweeney was then played over the Eastbourne defence into the channel where Smith ran onto and as the keeper came out Smith sent a right foot shot high over the keepers head and from 25 yards it hit the top right of the post and bounced into the opposite corner for a fine finish (1-0).
The strong wind in the first half kept clear cut chances at a minimum but corners for both teams posed problems as the ball swirled around and had to be cleared to safety.
The game was a battle in midfield where Scorza and noticeably Ellie Coade, who was starting her first game for over a year, were putting in some crunching tackles to break the play up and get the team pushed up the pitch.
The final chance of the half fell to Ripley who received a pass from Smith who had robbed the full back but as the shot came in the defender blocked it well to keep the score at 1-0 (H/T).
The Dockers started the second half well as the wind eased and Duchossoy was imposing on the game controlling the midfield and switching the play to the left where Salusbury linked up well with Smith whose shot was deflected for a corner . Smith then took the corner which was dealt with by the Eastbourne defence and cleared to safety.
Allana Lessels then replaced Salusbury on the left with 35 minutes to go as the Dockers looked to press the advantage. Further attacks came down the wings where Franks got in behind the defence and agonisingly pulled the ball back behind the Newhaven attack and then Smith got in down the left and shot just wide.
Eastbourne made some substitutions to introduce fresh legs and this gave the away side a lift with twenty minutes to go. They started to push the Dockers back and test the home defence. There were some timely bocks from Godden, Sweeney and Bashford-Robertson with Godden making a couple of very brave challenges to ensure Annie Hills goal was protected. Subsequent corners put further pressure on the home defence who stood strong with Sweeney heading clear and Hills gathering when needed to.
At the other end Newhaven made a change in attack bringing Tara Reid on her for her debut up front with 15 minutes to go as the injured Scorza made way.
And it was Newhaven who had the last meaningful chance when Smith played the ball inside for Ripley who hooked a left foot shot goal wards and saw the shot cannon back off the cross bar.
Newhaven managed the remaining minutes of the game to ensure it was a well-earned narrow win.
Andy Cook (joint manager) was pleased with the win; ‘after a break of a few weeks we have been looking forward to getting back to playing and it was a much needed win which I thought we deserved in a close game. I thought we defended very well and kept their attacks to a minimum which meant Annie was rarely tested. The windy conditions meant that it was tough to play good football but we tried and at times it looked good. But we did what we had to do and a stubborn performance was rewarded with three points and a clean sheet and a fine goal from Lauren to win it.’
Alex Ladd (joint manager) was in agreement; ‘Really pleased for the ladies today to get the win and to keep a clean sheet. After the performances in the recent games it’s what we deserved. We knew it would be a close game with Eastbourne and the quality we showed on the ball and off it paid off. What particularly impressed me was the way we managed the game, never panicking just doing what we needed to do. Players rose to challenge when we needed them too and upped their game. Credit to Eastbourne who made the last 20 minutes in particular tough. Well done ladies and very well earned 3 points .’
Team: Annie Hills, Katie Franks, Emily Salusbury (Allana Lessels), Imy Sweeny, Jas Godden, Paige Bashford-Robertson, Ellie Coade, Tasha Scorza (Tara Reid), Lauren Smith, Paige Ripley, Elle Duchossoy unused sub: Lucy Collinson