Lewes overcome spirited Southdown
Lewes Women Under-16s lifted the Sussex Girls Challenge Cup (Under-16s) trophy after a 17-0 win over Southdown Girls at Culver Road on Sunday evening.
“I'm over the moon for the girls to have a day like this because they turn up every week, even if they've lost quite heavily, still smiling, still wanting to play.”
Those were the words spoken of Southdown Girls manager Jason McNaboe in the build up to this game. To be fair to him, that’s exactly what his side did; they walked off the pitch with their heads held high and smiling after giving everything they had against a very strong Lewes side.
Striker, Caitlin Sullivan scored eight goals, whilst Clementine Young, Amy White (2), Georgie Pack, Iris McClelland (2), Martha Weisskopf-Strange, Chloe Obee, Berine Alexis completed the scoring.
Lewes took the lead straight from kick-off when Caitlin Sullivan played Clementine Young through with Young tucking in a neat finish. Sullivan did not have to wait long to put her name on the scoresheet, after stealing a loose ball and showing immense composure to double Lewes’s lead in the fourth minute. Three minutes later, Sullivan assisted Amy White with a squared-ball for Lewes’s third.
Sullivan added the fourth goal in the tenth minute, creating space with a nifty turn and capping off a solo-run with a well-struck finish past Sophie Skinner. Centre-back Isobel Glass-Oliver struck up a telepathic understanding with Sullivan, feeding the lethal number 9 for the fourth.
Amy White secured her brace with a curling strike after a corner fell kindly to her. Georgie Pack was solid from right centre-back throughout the game and added to a long-range finish after pouncing on another loosely cleared corner. A key part of Lewes’s back three, Pack showed good recovery pace and handled Southdown’s offensive advances with ease.
The midfield battle started off with both teams getting stuck in. The bustling Jasmine Ross’s early efforts to win the ball back for Southdown died down after Lewes began stitching passes together and controlling the midfield. Southdown did have, though, Jacey McNaboe tirelessly trying to close the ball down from the front.
Lewes captain Grace Wellcome strung the play together accurately from midfield. Berine Alexis planted herself in the base of midfield but found the free spaces to operate between the midfield and defence.
Taking the mantle of breaking Lewes’ sturdy defence herself, McNaboe cut a lonely figure without much support. Lewes were happy to invite the pressure on themselves and wait for openings towards the latter stages of half-time, which they exploited with intricate play. Southdown lacked pace in their counter-attacks and that allowed Lewes to get back into defensive shape quickly and thwart attacks.
A slight lull in the goalscoring was soon ended in spectacular fashion. Substitute Iris McClelland scored an outrageous finish from an almost impossible angle to make it 7-0.
A few minutes later, she was left unmarked at the back-post and added another goal to the tally before half-time. Amy Knock came on and immediately made an impact down Lewes’s right, stretching the already withered Southdown defence.
Esme Clarke was a threat from the left and was on the prowl from set-pieces. Amy White calmly went about her business, orchestrating the play with inch-perfect passes.
Shortly after the break, Sullivan secured her hat-trick with a well-placed finish. Isobel Glass-Oliver forced an outrageous save from ‘keeper Sophie Skinner, but the ball cannoned off the post and was finished by Martha to further compound Southdown’s misery for Lewes’s tenth goal of the night.
We were then treated to more Caitlin Sullivan magic. She bagged her fourth with a left-footed strike and then her fifth, after she was left unmarked. Both goals came from Wellcome’s corners that were not dealt with by the Southdown defence.
Sullivan kept the scoreboard ticking, after showing a quick turn of pace and a delicate finish for her sixth goal of the night. Martha then found Sullivan, who made no mistakes and slotted in her seventh goal.
Esme Clarke broke clear down the right and Chloe Obee’s shot crept below the keeper. Lewes were 15-0 up after 57 minutes of non-stop aggression.
Having secured the trophy, coach Carl Pennifold decided to experiment and shuffled his personnel around. Grace Wellcome played from the centre of defence and played long-balls to find the pacy Amy White. Berine Alexis, who was pushed forward, got on the score sheet in the final moments after coming close multiple times. Caitlin Sullivan tapped in her eighth just before the full-time whistle, sealing Lewes’s 17-0 victory.
Despite the gulf between the two teams, Southdown can be proud of their run to the final. Sophie Skinner pulled off some outstanding saves between the sticks and looked assured while sweeping up and in one-on-one situations. Southdown head coach Jason McNaboe was pleased with his team’s attitude.
Lewes gaffer Carl Pennifold highlighted that the message was to set professional standards and win the ball high up the pitch with intensity. “The Under-18s are a clear pathway for the future, with some players already integrated into the development squad.” On being asked about Caitlin Sullivan’s performance Pennifold added, “She had worked on it really hard; her finishing has been on point and it was one of those games when everything she touched went in.”
(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: (Southdown-Lewes) Goals (0-17); Shots (2-20); Shots on target (0-24); Offsides (0-6); Fouls (5-5); Yellow Cards (0-1); Red Cards (0-0)
Southdown Girls: Skinner, Nunns, Burwell, Ridd, Martin, Davies, Ross, McNaboe, Somerville, Willington, Morgan
Subs: Preece, Taylor, Clark, Reidy
Lewes: Dolding, Lambert, Glass-Oliver, Pack, Obee, Wellcome, Clarke, White, Alexis, Young, Sullivan
Subs: Reed, Bodin, McClelland, Knock, Weisskopf-Strange
Match Report by Sathvik Bharadwaj