Worthing Town Celebrations

Westwater the hero as Worthing win Girls Cup

Worthing Town 1-1 Hollingbury Hawks (2-0 pens)

Worthing Town won the Sussex Girls Challenge Cup (under-12s) on penalties after a closely fought encounter against a talented Hollingbury Hawks side at Culver Road on Sunday afternoon.

Hollingbury captain Martha Behr fired her side ahead, but Worthing soon equalised through their skipper Daniella Bell. Neither side was able to find a winner in the remaining regulation time or extra-time so the drama of a penalty shootout was required. Freya Westwater was in inspired form in the Worthing goal as she denied Hollingbury on three occasions from the spot to seal a memorable victory for her side! 

Hawks had the best of the opening exchanges and the impressive Behr tested Westwater early on with a rasping low drive from distance. 

Hollingbury capitalised on their early dominance and it was Behr who put them ahead on 12 minutes; she linked up well with strike-partner Marta Slyfield, before smashing the ball past Westwater from close-range.

The goal seemed to galvanise Worthing and they equalised just 7 minutes later as Bell, who was a constant thorn in the Hawks defence, raced clear and drilled the ball low past Hollingbury goalkeeper Rose Townsend, from just inside the penalty area.

Worthing had a great chance to take the lead 5 minutes before the break as a low corner found its way all the way through to Bell at the back post, she swivelled and shot with the ball looking destined for the bottom corner, but Townsend leapt across her goal brilliantly to make a diving save low down to her left and preserve parity.

Hollingbury had the first clear-cut chance of the second-half just 4 minutes in, and it needed a top-drawer save from replacement Worthing keeper Holly Jenkins to keep it out. 

The lively Slyfield found space in the box and unleashed a rasping drive towards the top corner, but Jenkins instinctively stuck out an arm to tip it onto the post and showed further remarkably quick reactions to catch the ball as it rebounded off the woodwork.

The long-throw of Worthing’s Willow Exley, which was describe as “unreal” by her manager Sarah Poyntz, was a useful weapon in their armoury, and one created an opening for Libby Bunn in the 47th minute but she shot straight at Townsend.

With 10 minutes left on the clock Behr and Slyfield linked-up once again, the latter fashioned a chance for herself but wasn’t able to beat Jenkins with her low effort on goal.

Into extra-time, and Jenkins was at it again this time denying Hawks Scarlett Foster who tried her luck from long range on 62 minutes. Ruby Hickman ponced on a loose ball for Worthing in the second period of extra-time, but her shot from distance drifted agonisingly wide of the far post.

Hollingbury had the chance to win the game in the additional-time to extra-time as Slyfield burst through, but reinstated Westwater in the Worthing goal came out to narrow the angle and make a dramatic last gasp save with her foot to send the cup final into the dreaded penalty shootout.

After sending their first penalty kick wide, Hollingbury keeper Townsend produced a fine save to claw the ball out and deny Worthing taking the lead. 

But, Westwater - who was the hero in the semi-final in similar circumstances - was in outstanding form again saving the next three Hawks penalties whilst her teammates Matilda Freestone and Bunn converted to win the Cup for Worthing!

After the match, victorious joint managers Sarah Poyntz and Zoe Rendell were quick to praise their team: “It’s amazing, we’ve experienced extra-time and pens the whole way through the competition and Freya has pulled out some amazing saves in the shootouts, but we’ve had everyone on of our 24 players play a part in our journey here and they’ve been fantastic and its pleasing to see so many of them here supporting the team today.

“Credit to Hollingbury they did really well, they’ve got fast players upfront and are a real threat on the counter attack, but we managed to hang in there and pull it out of the bag on penalties.

“We’re very lucky to have two extremely talented goalkeepers at this age group who kept us in the game and all the girls dug deep to come though and it is just amazing to win the trophy!”

Worthing Town Video Still
Worthing Town vs. Hollingbury Hawks (Under-12s) - 02-02-20
Full highlights of the Sussex Women's Challenge Trophy Final.Powered by Your Instant Replay.

(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)
(Video highlights are available above and on YouTube - courtesy of Your Instant Replay)

Stats: (Worthing Town-Hollingbury Hawks)
Goals: 1-1; Shots: 10-7; Shots-on-Target: 5-5; Corners: 7-7; Fouls: 1-1; Offside: 0-1; Yellows: 0-0; Reds: 0-0.

Worthing Town: Westwater, Bennison, Freestone, Hickman, Wood, Read, Bell ©, Bunn, Exley.
Subs: Jenkins, McDonagh, Bates, Kirk, Warner.

Hollingbury Hawks: Townsend, Slyfield, England, Pacholec, Staib-Yaron, Hill, Robinson-Higgins, Foster, Behr ©.
Subs: Crockett, Mayers, Simanowitz, Checkley, Harris-Willis.

Match Report by Darren Ford

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