Sussex succumbs to defeat
Sussex manager Karl Davy spoke of his pride after his threadbare squad suffered defeat at neighbouring Kent on Wednesday.
There were six debutants and no substitutes for last year’s runners up in the second of three games for the Ladies team following a spate of eleventh-hour withdrawals.
The champions of two seasons ago only put the game beyond reach of a depleted Sussex in the closing minutes and eventually ran out 4-0 winners at Chatham Town FC.
He said: “I am immensely proud of these girls. It was an even game for the most part, the first two goals came from little mistakes.
“We had six players drop out at the last moment, so it was a brilliant performance under those circumstances. Six girls got the call less than 48 hours ago to come into their first game and all of them did themselves proud.
“We have one game left, we can finish on six points, home matches are always better for us, so we want to go out on a high. The result tonight was disappointing but the performance far from it.”
Kent - in their first game under newly appointed manager Richard Gurney - went ahead inside five minutes. Steph Adby latched on to an under hit back-pass and played in last term’s Player of the Year Amy Russ and she skipped round the keeper to slot the ball in.
Ellie Rivers had a shot deflected narrowly wide and Adby then went close again but Sussex soon hit back and carved out some openings of their own.
Shantelle Gray, on her Sussex debut, flashed an effort across goal and Nicole Baitup tried her luck from distance but home stopper Saskia Kacary was equal to it.
Kent moved 2-0 ahead on the cusp of half time through Grace Seely, as she rose highest to meet a Megan Burrows corner and powered home a header through a posse of players.
Michelle Ward, had a lob cleared by defender Natasha Moloney, but Russ then extended the Kent lead further with her second and her side’s third.
To their credit, despite the three-goal deficit, Sussex continued to press forward and almost threw themselves a lifeline when Maya Beasley headed against the crossbar from Nicole Baitup’s corner.
Kent were reduced to ten players on 65 minutes when Ellie Jeffkins was given her marching orders having lashed out at Graves. The defender connected with her opposite number with a punch - after Graves had won the ball in a tackle - and was sent from the field by referee Howard Collins.
Sussex keeper, Lauren Graves, saved well from substitute Mia Lockett and then tipped wide from a Danielle Farmer header on the rebound. Gray was powerless to prevent another substitute - Emily Jacobs - from completing the scoring late on despite a hint of offside.
(A selection of photographs are available on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)
Goals 4-0; Shots 15-8; Shots-on-Target 8-2; Fouls 6-2; Corners 9-5; Offsides 3-1; Yellow cards 0-0; Red Cards 1-0.
Kent: Kacary; Aston-Jones, Moloney, Jeffkins, Seely, Farmer, Rivers, Goad, Russ, Burrows, Adby.
Subs: Jacobs, Penfold, Lockett, Chapman.
Sussex: Graves, Beesley, Ward, M. Fox, S. Fox, Sutcliffe, Collier, Robson, Gray, Larkin, Baitup.
Match Report by Jamie Spoor