Newhaven Ladies hit five to take trophy home
Newhaven Ladies clinched their first-ever Sussex Women’s Challenge Trophy as they survived a late scare to defeat Burgess Hill Town Ladies 5-3 in Thursday’s final at Culver Road.
Goals from Lauren Smith, Paige Ripley and a hat-trick from striker Chloe Winchester sealed victory for Newhaven, who were firmly on top for most of the game, but Burgess Hill fought back with three second-half goals to push the eventual winners all the way to the final whistle.
The first goal of the match went Newhaven’s way, with Smith scoring directly from a corner in the ninth minute to give the Dockers an early lead.
Newhaven continued to push forward and assert their dominance in the match, with Smith inches from scoring another almost identical goal five minutes later, but she was denied as a second dangerous set-piece delivery smacked against the post.
However, their efforts were rewarded in the twenty-first minute when Georgia Ungoed’s blocked shot fell kindly to Ripley, who made no mistake as she fired home to double Newhaven’s lead.
Their third goal came shortly before the half-hour mark when Ungoed found herself in acres of space out wide, she galloped forward and squared the ball across the onrushing goalkeeper for Winchester to slot into an empty net and put her side in total control.
Newhaven’s dominance continued right up until half-time, with Burgess Hill struggling to string successive passes together at times.
Mark Bishop’s side pulled a goal back three minutes after the restart through Jade Chapman who met Jess Gray’s corner to head home.
The game was blown wide open in the sixty-third minute when Burgess Hill grabbed a second, as substitute Millie Morley pounced on a loose ball to convert after Newhaven goalkeeper Hannah Paul spilled what should have been a routine catch.
Winchester restored Newhaven’s two-goal cushion six minutes later with a deflected effort from the edge of the area, but they were pegged back once again with twelve minutes remaining when Charley Law poked home for Burgess Hill, evading her marker to convert another Gray corner.
Revitalised by their impressive second-half performance, Burgess Hill searched desperately for an equaliser as the clock ticked down.
They were presented with a golden opportunity in stoppage time when Newhaven ‘keeper Paul let the ball roll underneath her foot as she tried to clear, but she recovered well to eventually collect and deny the onrushing Morley.
However, the crucial eighth goal of the game arrived two minutes later as Newhaven found a fifth. Winchester completed her hat-trick with a fine finish as she darted inside, skipped past two defenders and drilled the ball in at the near post to clinch the trophy for Newhaven and put the result out of sight for Burgess Hill.
Newhaven joint-managers Alex Ladd and Andy Cook were delighted to oversee their team’s successful cup run, with victory in the final extending their season-long unbeaten streak to fourteen matches: “We’ve got the belief in the players, and the players have got the belief in themselves.
“They know they can score goals; they know that they can work hard,” said Ladd.
“We’re just so impressed by them and they’re a great bunch of players,” added Cook.
(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)
(Video highlights are available above and also on YouTube - courtesy of FilmMyMatch)
Stats: (Burgess Hill Town Ladies-Newhaven Ladies)
Goals: 3-5; Shots: 8-17; Shots-on-target: 3-10; Corner: 4-2; Fouls: 3-8; Yellow cards: 0-0; Red cards: 0-0.
Burgess Hill Town: Bates, Ashby (c), Harvey, Nash, Pollendine, Card, Chapman, Law, Hall, Gittins, Saunders.
Subs: Gray, Almond, Morley, Saunders, Wilson.
Newhaven: Paul, Cook, Harker, Coade (c), Godden, Lloyd, Ungoed, Collinson, Wilchester, Ripley, Smith.
Subs: Bashford-Robertson, Fowler, Hamlet, Barden, Tedeschini.
Match report by Archie Griggs