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Action from Middlesex vs. Sussex

Women's Representative Squad fall short in season finale

Middlesex 5 - 1 Sussex

Sussex County FA Women’s Representative Squad ended their Southern Counties Cup Competition campaign with defeat as they lost 5-1 to Middlesex FA at Uxbridge FC.

Despite a resilient performance from Sussex in the second-half, five Middlesex goals before half-time put the hosts out of sight early on, and they deservedly took all three points.

Middlesex took the lead after just four minutes when Sussex allowed striker Ashley Cheatley to zip through the defence and slot the ball past goalkeeper Nina Wilson into the far corner.

The hosts began to smell blood and doubled their lead in the fifteenth minute, again through Cheatley, who wriggled past her marker at a corner to tap home from close range.

Lavana Neufville added a third for Middlesex five minutes later, but Sussex pulled a goal back through Ariana Fleischman almost instantly.

A calamitous error from home goalkeeper Paige Horsnell allowed Fleischman to slot the ball into an empty net from the edge of the area.

However, Middlesex continued to create chances in abundance, and any hopes of a Sussex comeback were quashed soon after when Cheatley completed her hat-trick to put the hosts 4-1 up.

The fifth goal came shortly before the half-hour mark with Wilson well-beaten by a flicked header from another corner, putting the game to bed and eliminating any doubt as to the result.

Despite the unflattering scoreline, Sussex battled on, showing great spirit and determination, and beginning to create some real chances.

Fleischman was unlucky not to double her goal tally just before half-time, seeing her shot blocked after beating her marker with two skilful flicks.

After the break Sussex continued to fight hard despite Middlesex’s dominance, and came close to scoring again just four minutes into the second-half when Fleischman again found herself in on goal, but she was denied by a good save by Horsnell.

Michelle Ward denied the hosts a sixth goal with fourteen minutes to go with a fantastic cover tackle, and Wilson made a top-class save in the closing stages as she pushed a close range effort around the post, drawing applause from both sets of supporters.

Sussex head coach Nici Rice was pleased with her side’s performance given the circumstances: “Going in with a bare eleven, and a lot of them played three games this week, you can see they were tired and we didn’t have any options for substitutes,” she said.

“In the second-half we were actually fitter than the other side, who were using quite a few of their subs. I think they should be proud of themselves.

“They all played ninety minutes, so in terms of their fitness levels that was fantastic, the versatility in the squad was wonderful, and their effort and attitude was perfect.”

(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)

Stats: (Middlesex-Sussex)
Goals: 5-1; Shots: 16-6; Shots-on-target: 10-4; Corners: 7-1; Fouls: 3-0; Yellow cards: 0-0; Red cards: 0-0.

Middlesex: Horsnell, Slater, Magill, Laidler, DeLuca, Keightley, Petit, Down, Cheatley, Sampson, Neufville.
Subs: Smith, Currivan, Roberts, McKevitt.

Sussex: Wilson, Anderson, Elphick, Fleischman, Hyland, Killick, Larkin, Pilgrim, Robinson, Ward, Webley.

Match report by Archie Griggs