Sussex Girls' Challenge Cup (Under-13s)

Sussex Girls’ Challenge Cup Final (Under-13s) Preview

Words by Joe Williams
Worthing United vs. Bognor Regis Town

The final of the Sussex Girls Challenge Cup (Under-13s) is due to take place on Sunday 16 April 2023 between Worthing United Youth and Bognor Regis Town Youth.

Worthing United vs. Bognor Regis Town
Sussex Girls Challenge Cup Final (Under-13s)
Date: Sunday 16 April 2023
Kick-off: 10:30am
Venue: Sussex County FA, Culver Road, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 9AX

This is a repeat of last year’s Sussex Girls Challenge Cup Final (Under-12s) when Worthing United came out as 1-0 winners in a tight, nervy game.

Worthing United manager, James Glover, has only been in charge of the team for two years and has now led them to successive County Cup Finals.

He said: “Previously, I was helping out in terms of doing fixtures, admin, and helping out a little bit in training but basically as a parent. 

“The previous manager, who had taken the girls a huge distance in terms of improving them, his daughter got picked up by Brighton, so he had to go and support her and wasn’t able to carry on.”

In his first year in charge of the team they had moved up to the boys’ league which they won, and they have just emulated that this year with a last-minute goal sealing the Saywell International (Arun and Chichester) Youth League U12 Division B last weekend.

Glover said: “It’s been a very successful couple of years for the Worthing United girls in general. Our under-15s girls won the County Cup for the first time a couple of weeks ago. 

“So we are looking to go there and get a second county cup title for Worthing United this season, and a second county cup for this group of girls.”

Despite being the holders, the team are once again thrilled to get to the to the final: “They are excited, but they are a very grounded group I would say. 

“Last year it was all new to them, it was their first major final in front of a crowd at a proper venue. 

“This year I think they are just looking forward to going back and doing it again but this time putting a bit of pizazz into it. They have been looking to reach the final again as soon as the draw was made. 

“They have always been thinking this is where we want to be, let’s make space in the diary and get our ducks in a row to make sure we are available for those games.”

Despite a successful season, Glover believes the most valuable moments for the team have come in defeats:

“We started the season away in Chichester and we were winning 2-1 at half-time, collapsed in the second-half and lost 7-3. That was a good wake up call for them. 

“We then played a cup game against one of our boy’s teams, we were up at half-time in that one too but then lost 5-4.

“These defeats, if anything, have been more helpful for us in terms of grounding the girls, and showing them they’re not fully there yet and we need to work hard.”

Since last years final they have played Bognor in a friendly, which Bognor won so Glover is expecting it to be another tough game.

He said: “Bognor will be another challenge because they are a step up from every team we have played this year, they always give us a good game. 

“It will come down to which group of girls are on it on the day. Last year’s final was a very close game. I think we scored after six or seven minutes and then we just couldn’t break them down.

“It will be interesting to see if this year will be a more open and flowing game.”

Bognor Regis Town manager, Matt Swanson, was in good spirits as he spoke to us from a minibus with his team heading to Wembley to watch England vs. Brazil.

He has been managing the team for five years, along with fellow coach Tom English, and this season has gone particularly well.

Swanson said: “We lost a game in the third week of the season, and we talked about if we won the treble, we would take them on tour somewhere. Since we said that they have gone unbeaten.

“We are in the semi-final of the league cup, final of the county cup and four points clear with three games to play in the league. It’s been a good season.”

The two teams have faced each other many times over the last few years and Swanson was philosophical about last year’s final defeat.

He said: “It was tight last season. I felt it was probably a fair result 1-0 to them. They were very strong defensively and we just found it a tough nut to crack.

“Hopefully we will cause them a few more defensive headaches this time around. They are a very strong team. We have been playing them right from the beginning since the under-9s. 

“They moved into a boys league because of their strength, and they won their boys league this year. We actually went and supported them when they had their league defining match a few weeks ago.

Swanson is expecting it to be another close game between the two: “It’s always a good tight game between us. I think we will be the underdogs going into it, but we know we have got a chance if everyone is on the top of their game.”

Two games will be taking place on Sunday at Culver Road, both involving Bognor teams, so Swanson is hoping they will have a good crowd to support them on the day.

He said: “We’ve got the Bognor ladies team, which is newly formed this year, they are playing in the afternoon.

“Hopefully there will be a good Bognor contingent supporting us. Its looking good at Bognor, we have ten teams and 150 players.

“Girls and women’s football is doing really well at Bognor at the moment.”

Swanson credits the introduction of a specialised goalkeeping coach Rodrigo Castanheira as having an impact on their defensive record this year. 

The team has only conceded 12 goals in 18 games while at the other end five players have reached double figures this year.

Swanson said: “I think that’s our strength, our team ethic and our strength through 1 to 11. 

“Obviously defensively, we are proud of our defensive record, we have worked on that, so well done to the defenders.

“I think really the key is it’s a team effort, all of the subs as well, whoever they are we can rotate, and it doesn’t make too much difference to the strength we have.”

As the game approaches Swanson will be trying to take the pressure off the team to ensure it is a positive experience for the players.

He said: “The main thing is for them to go out and enjoy themselves, and not worry too much about the occasion. We have battled hard to get there, so they should go out there and enjoy it no matter the result.”

Entry prices are as follows (Cash and Card accepted):

£5.00 Adult (17+)
£3.00 Concession (66+ and students with valid student ID card)
£1.00 Child (16 and under)
£1.50 Official Match Day Programme

For further details about the Sussex Girls' Challenge Cup (Under-13s) please contact:

T: 01903 753547

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