Newhaven Ladies 0 v 1 Saltdean Ladies
Saltdean Ladies came away with all three points in their quest for promotion in a very close encounter at the Trafalgar Ground on Sunday.
With little to split the teams it was an Ellie Smith goal just after the break which was enough to give the Tigers the victory.
In an entertaining game it was the Dockers who started the brightest pressing high up the pitch and winning the midfield battle.
A ball over the top from Paige Ripley found Winchester battling the Saltdean defence and a mix up saw the ball played back past the keeper but the angle was just too tight for Winchester to play the ball goal wards and it was cleared at the near post for a corner.
A sequence of corners should have resulted in the home side taking the lead especially when Lauren Smith sent in two consecutive corners which nearly found the back of the net but for a brave tip over from Hounsell in the Saltdean goal when under pressure from Chloe Winchester and then another chance cleared off the line from Georgia Ungoed.
At the other end there were half chances for Saltdean as they dangerously broke down their right and sent in crosses which were struck just wide or over Annie Hills goal. Also a dangerous header from a Saltdean corner went just wide as the score remained goalless.
Newhaven continued to press and Smith found time and space on the left to send in a testing cross to the back post where Chelsea Cook headed goalwards but again the Tigers defence and Hounsell kept it out.
The rebound fell to Paige Ripley and her shot was also blocked (0-0 HT).
The second half saw the Dockers kick into the wind which seemed to have strengthened and this enabled Saltdean to apply more pressure and camp in Newhaven’s half. Five minutes after the break Saltdean found time on the left to deliver a cross into the box which wasn’t cleared properly and resulted in a corner. The corner was delivered into a dangerous area and was only half cleared to Ellie Smith who made no mistake form 12 yards out placing the ball in the bottom corner giving Hills no chance (0-1).
The Dockers tried to squeeze up the pitch as much as they could but were finding it difficult to get out against the wind and the pressure from Saltdean.
It was the away side who continued to pressurise the Dockers defence who stood up well and limited the Tigers to shots from outside the box which went just wide or over. However one long range effort from Naomi Robinson had to be tipped over by Hills and it was the same two players who came together as Hills was smartly off her line to save at Robinsons feet in the box.
Newhaven tried to play on the break and Lucy Collinson drove forward and released Winchester who cut inside but found the Saltdean defence in numbers and the chance was cleared. Smith continued to pose a threat down the left but the Dockers were tiring and could not get up to support as dangerous attacking threats broke down in the last third.
Both teams introduced fresh legs late in the second half to try and change the game but it was Saltdean who held on to their slender lead and take all three points.
Joint Manager Andy Cook reflected after the game; ‘It was a really close game where I thought we were the better side first half and Saltdean were stronger in the second half. There really isn’t much to choose between the two sides and if we had just managed to get that lead in the first half when we had a couple cleared off the line then it might have been enough to nick all three points. We couldn’t ask much more of the ladies who gave everything and both teams served up an entertaining game. Good luck to Saltdean in their push for promotion, they just had a bit more than us in the second half and I thought we tired a bit and lacked a bit of quality in the final third and didn’t really create much to threaten the Saltdean goal in the second half. I thought we competed really well all over the pitch and the desire was there to get something from the game so overall not too disappointed.’
Alex Ladd (joint manager) added; ‘I thought we played really well today, particularly in the first half. We had a game plan and stuck to it and it was very effectively put in place by the ladies. The work rate from everyone was impressive although i think we tired in the second half. It was a very close game and it could have gone either way, a couple of good chances in the first half go in and we could have nicked it. Credit to Saltdean who played some good football and the finish for their goal was superb. Really pleased by the commitment from the players and we move on to the final game of the season away to Ashford. Well done everyone.’
Team: Annie Hills, Chelsea Cook (Maddie Cannon), Paige Bashford-Robertson (Kerri Forshaw), Steph Harrison, Natalie Ring, Jas Godden, Georgia Ungoed, Lucy Collinson (c), Chloe Winchester, Paige Ripley (Paige Fowler), Lauren Smith