Burgess Hill Town Ladies 3-5 Newhaven Ladies (HT 0-3)
Newhaven Ladies lifted the Sussex County Women’s Challenge Trophy on Thursday night after an enthralling victory over Burgess Hill Town Ladies at Lancing.
A cup final hat-trick from goal machine Chloe Winchester and one each from Lauren Smith and Paige Ripley was enough to see the Dockers lift their first trophy since the team was set up at the beginning of this season. It has been quite an amazing season so far with the ladies winning their 16th consecutive game (including two walkovers).
The Dockers started the game in their usual fast fashion and were camped in the Burgess Hill half in the opening exchanges. Ellie Coade dominated the midfield from the first whistle with good support from Lucy Collinson and Paige Ripley. The first chance fell to Winchester who raced through and played the ball to Georgia Ungoed but the shot was well defended and was guided out for a corner. Lauren Smith took the in-swinging corner which flew over everyone and directly into the far corner to give Newhaven the lead after 10 minutes (0-1).
Newhaven continued to press forward and Winchester was tripped on the edge of the box resulting in a direct free kick. Up stepped Winchester but the shot was just over the bar.
Shortly after another in-swinging corner from Smith nearly crept in the near post but it hit the post and was cleared.
Smith then turner provider as Jade Harker started a great move down the left when the ball was played out to her by Jas Godden. Harker played the ball into a good area for Smith to run onto and her cross was guided towards Paige Ripley by Winchester and Ripley’s precise shot into the corner put the Dockers two up with 20 minutes gone.
The third nearly followed when Coade played Winchester in but her shot was just wide.
At the other end Burgess Hill eventually broke through after a good move but a last ditch tackle from the impressive Charlotte Lloyd prevented a certain scoring chance.
From this the Dockers went up the other end and scored their third. Georgia Ungoed raced onto Ripley’s long through ball and as the keeper came out she slotted the ball to Winchester who guided it into an empty net (0-3).
And just before half time Newhaven should have scored the fourth. Winchester was played in by a long ball on the break and she raced through from the half way line and cut in on the keeper and when looking a dead certainty to score the last defender just got back and what looked like a tangle of legs Winchester stayed on her feet and stumbled and the shot lost its power and went straight at the keeper. A strong shout for a penalty was waved away and the half time whistle soon sounded (0-3 HT).
The second half kicked off and immediately Newhaven broke down the right as Ungoed beat the full back and cut inside the penalty area and her shot was just wide.
However, it was the Hillians who got the next goal as they won a corner and as this was sent into the box it wasn’t cleared properly and was headed over the line by Jade Chapman (1-3).
This gave Burgess Hill a lifeline and stirred them into action. They started pressing Newhaven back and getting control of the midfield and got a second soon after on 64 minutes through Millie Morley when again Newhaven did not clear the ball and gave away possession. It was now game on and a great come back for the Hillians was on (2-3).
But the Dockers got back on top five minutes later when Harker and Smith combined again down the left as Harker’s measured ball found Smith in space and she squared it to Winchester who turned the defender and scored from the edge of the penalty area despite the keeper getting a hand to it (2-4).
Burgess Hill were not done though and set up a grand stand finish with just under ten minutes to play as they scored again from a corner this time by Charley Law (3-4).
It was frantic stuff and with Paige Fowler, Rachel Hamlet and Paige Bashford-Robertson on for the injured Collinson, Godden and Ripley the Dockers were holding out and trying to keep hold of the ball.
The next chance fell to Newhaven as Coade played Smith in and her near post shot was well saved.
Then on 90 minutes a long through ball by the Hillians found its way to Paul but the ball rolled under her foot but she just managed to scramble back and dive on it to prevent a certain goal scoring chance.
With only a couple of minutes of added time to play the win was sealed as Smith played the ball to Winchester who drove into the box and scored at the near post to complete her hat-trick and make it 3-5. And another was nearly added when Fowler played Winchester in again and she lobbed the keeper but the shot came back off the post.
The final whistle was met by wild celebrations from the Newhaven players and bench and a well-deserved victory against a strong Burgess Hill side who battled back strongly in the second half.
Joint Manager Andy Cook was really pleased with the win; “The ladies really deserve that,” said Cook. “They have been fantastic from the first minute of pre-season training and that’s due reward for their commitment, desire and ability.
“We were brilliant first half and really should have scored a couple more but we were satisfied with being three up. However, full credit to Burgess Hill who were excellent second half and pushed us back. We played too deep and allowed ourselves to be put under pressure, however this group has a lot of character and just doesn’t want to get beaten so we kept coming back and eventually did enough in the last ten or fifteen minutes to secure the victory.
“We showed tonight we are a very good side in front of a great crowd who came in their numbers to cheer the ladies on and we all appreciate the vast support we had – it made a big difference.
“Just got to mention a couple of stand-out performances – Chloe got the goals and won the player of the match but special mention to Ellie Coade who was fantastic in the centre of midfield and Charlotte Lloyd who was a rock at the back.
“That’s the first trophy we have won in our first season and our incredible run of winning every game so far continues and long may it go on. We now look forward to the league cup semi-final on Sunday against Worthing Town.”
Joint Manager Alex Ladd was equally ecstatic about the result and performance; “What an unbelievable evening under the lights at Lancing,” added Ladd. “We spoke beforehand about getting the ball down and moving it quickly around the pitch and the ladies did exactly that.
“We dominated the majority of the first half and the score at half time showed how well we were playing. Second half, credit to Burgess Hill. They came out with great desire to get back into the game. Even under the pressure Burgess Hill applied we still worked tirelessly to take the game to them when we had an opportunity. That commitment and ability to play until the last minute is credit to everyone involved.
“The ladies deserve all the applause for this performance. They amaze me more and more as the season goes on. Just when I think they cannot do any better they up their game again. They are such a credit to themselves and to the club, a wonderful group that are brilliant to be part of. Another semi-final on Sunday awaits, cannot wait. Well done ladies.”
Newhaven: Hannah Paul, Chelsea Cook, Jade Harker, Ellie Coade (c), Jas Godden (Paige Bashford-Robertson), Charlotte Lloyd, Georgia Ungoed, Lucy Collinson (Paige Fowler), Chloe Winchester, Paige Ripley (Rachel Hamlet), Lauren Smith. Unused subs: Tawny Barden, Maya Tedeschini.