Worthing overcome determined Rocks
Worthing United Youth lifted the Sussex Girls Challenge Cup (Under-13s) following a hard fought 2-1 victory over Bognor Regis Town at Culver Road on Sunday morning.
Goals from Maria O’Brien and Jaymie Ross sealed the victory as they held off a late Bognor surge which was instigated by a strike from Molly Spearpoint.
Worthing were the dominant team throughout the game with Mia Balmer impressing in midfield.
Both teams started on the front foot in an open and entertaining first few minutes, but it was Worthing who opened the scoring.
In the fourth minute, Worthing’s Balmer provided a low cross which found O’Brien at the back post. She had the composure to take a touch and place a shot into the top right-hand corner to give her team the perfect start.
The Rocks battled hard in the first-half but were unable to get a foothold in the game with Worthing keeping Bognor goalkeeper Katie Beech busy.
Beech made a smart save to keep Bognor in it following a jinking run and shot from Balmer and then shortly after Esme Harris, the dangerous Worthing striker, drilled a shot just over from a tight angle.
With the first-half ending, Bognor had their first real chance.
Spearpoint ran onto a long through ball but the Worthing keeper, Fia Skagerlind, just got to it first having raced out of her box.
The promising end to the first-half buoyed Bognor and they started the second where they left off.
Spearpoint was again found on the break, she held off a defender, but her shot was closed down by the onrushing Skagerlind.
As the second-half went on Worthing regained the ascendancy. A series of corners kept Bognor penned back, one saw Alisha Tiangco’s volley fly wide, while another saw Balmer’s volleyed effort loop into the keepers’ arms.
Worthing were full of confidence and continued to press for a second goal, with Isabelle Weatherstone having a stinging shot saved by Beech from a narrow angle.
Bognor had plenty of endeavour but when they did find themselves in attacking situations, they were unable to find the final ball to create a shooting chance. An excellent through ball from Harriet Rainey released Spearpoint on the counter but her cut back went between two attackers in the box.
Shortly after, Worthing went two ahead with Balmer again providing the assist. She charged through the middle of the field, beating two defenders before squaring the ball to Jaymie Ross who slid the ball into the net.
The game appeared to be out of reach for Bognor, however only two minutes later they were back in it.
Spearpoint intercepted a clearance from the Worthing keeper and her long-distance shot lobbed the retreating Skagerlind to give Bognor hope.
The goal brought an increased intensity from Bognor as they chased the equaliser.
The Rocks had a vocal following in the stands, and they thought they had drawn level when Katie Allard found herself in space on the edge of the area, but her shot spun narrowly wide of the post.
Worthing held out for the win and their manager, James Glover, was proud of his team’s performance:
“The girls turned it on at times. We put in a lot of effort, both before and during the game but I think we deserved it [the win] overall.
“There were some nervy moments. To be honest I think there were more nerves on the bench than there were amongst the players! But they held it together.
“Bognor came out hard, but we held on and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
(Video highlights are available above and on YouTube - courtesy of Your Instant Replay)
(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)
Stats (Worthing-Bognor Regis): Goals (2-1); Shots (12-6); On target (5-5); Offsides (1-0); Fouls (7-2); Yellow cards (0-0); Red cards (0-0).
Worthing United Youth: Skagerlind, Sparkes, O’Brien, Fowles-Teixeira, Ross, Horn, Robertson, Ciaramella, Glover.
Subs: Tiangco, Christie, Balmer, Harris, Weatherstone.
Bognor Regis Town: Beech, Rainey, Castanheira, Geall, Klupa, Swanson, English, Craig, Cowens.
Subs: Allard, Spearpoint, Blanks, Hart.