Eastbourne Borough Youth edge a win to lift County Cup
Eastbourne Borough Youth lifted the Sussex Girls Challenge Cup (under-12s) after a very competitive display against Oakwood Youth which finished 4-3 on a chilly Sunday morning at Culver Road.
This fantastic Cup Final could have gone either way for both talented sides; Eastbourne broke the dead-lock early on however, Oakwood went into the break with a narrow one goal cushion. Eastbourne netted a further two in quick succession in the second-half, Oakwood fought back to level the scoring, but it was Eastbourne who got the winner 6 minutes from time.
Eastbourne applied pressure upon Oakwood from the get go and it only took them a matter of 3 minutes to take the lead after Mollie Cooper unleashed an arrow of a shot which crept cheekily underneath the fully stretched Ellise Mann.
Another chance came swiftly for Eastbourne which almost resulted in them extending their lead. Captain Ellie Cooper linked up nicely with Lola Harris and calmly laid the ball off to her team mate, who drilled a powerful effort on target, but Mann was there and blocked well.
10 minutes passed and Oakwood pulled one back, Imogen Stevens played a clever pass that split the Eastbourne defence enabling Ella Ritchie to run onto and steer her shot into the bottom corner with ease.
On the 20 minute mark, Oakwood went two up after some strong battling in the middle of the park from midfielder Amy Knock. She won the ball and picked out the advancing Ritchie who found herself one-on-one with Sophie Wadmore, she managed to keep her cool and blasted a powerful shot past the white line.
Eastbourne reacted immediately when Willow Brown wriggled past two players and riffled an effort across the danger area, but Mann was there to gather the ball quickly to keep her team ahead.
Brown was presented with another opportunity after the restart and this time she made it count after shrugging off her player, cutting inside and striking sweetly which unfortunately for Mann slipped in between her gloves!
5 minutes later Megan Verbeeten snatched possession from Harris, powered forward down the line and floated a lovely ball into the penalty area with the hope that one of her team mates would be there to meet and poke home, but Wadmore claimed comfortably.
The goals kept coming and the next started from a Harris cross that looped into the busy Oakwood box and pinged off a player, through no fault of her own and past the line sending the keeper the wrong way.
Almost instantly the action found its way to the opposite end of the pitch and Ritchie got her well-deserved hat-trick after towering above her marker and connecting with a deep cross at the back post to head home.
In the latter stages of the occasion it was Harris yet again who was in on the action. She fizzed a sensational ball over Oakwood’s back line for Brown to pluck down from thin air and strike a sublime effort which nestled into the top corner of the net.
Oakwood gave it their all as the clock ticked down, trying to force the game to extra-time, but Eastbourne held firm to seal the narrow victory and be crowned champions of the Sussex Girls Challenge Cup (under-12s).
Eastbourne Borough manager Dan Fogg praised his sides winning performance after the match: “I think we have all calmed down a little bit now, it was a full on game but they all stepped up second-half and probably deserved to win it in the end.
“I know the quality that they have got so I had to get them going and they showed us why they are so good.
“It’s all down to them, the hard work and they get the rewards for it.”
(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 Your Instant Replay)
Stats: (Eastbourne Borough Youth-Oakwood Youth)
Goals: 4-3; Shots: 11-7; Shots-on-target: 9-6; Corners: 9-5; Fouls: 2-0; Yellow cards: 0-0; Red cards: 0-0.
Eastbourne Borough Youth: Wadmore, Chatfield, Carnell, Teear, Cooper ©, Harris, Bowerman, Rose-Griffiths, Brown.
Subs: Tucker, Harrod, Babaoglu, Crane.
Oakwood Youth: Mann, Lovell, Lambert ©, Duff, Stevens, Olding, Verbeeten, Knock, Ritchie.
Subs: Gale, Thomas, Lee, Palmer, Raper-Webb.
Match report by Natalie Clarke.