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.