Wasps sting late in Girls Cup
Crawley Wasps took home the Sussex Girls' Challenge Cup (Under-16s) after a late goal saw them beat Lewes 1-0 at Culver Road on Thursday night.
A tight, hard-fought game was contested in front of 115 fans as both teams battled it out until the end.
The game seemed destined to be heading to penalties until the 75th minute when Amely Bravenboar capitalised on a loose ball in the box to seal the victory for her team.
Lewes started the better in a compelling first-half. Their midfield trio of Amy White, Mollie Cooper and Mary Smith settled on the ball quickly and instigated a number of attacks with smart interplay.
However, the young Rooks were unable to create a clear-cut opportunity early on with Smith’s long-range effort going over the bar.
Crawley soon found their feet with Evie Rogers and Grace Chester combining well on the left wing.
And whilst the intensity of their play increased, Wasps looked unable to create anything meaningful chances from it.
A long ball over the top of the Crawley defence saw Lewes’ Martha Behr racing through on goal, but Crawley defender Lauren Hunton was able to recover and apply enough pressure to stop Behr getting off a clean shot.
Crawley countered almost immediately which required another sterling defensive effort, this time by Lewes’ Berine Viva Alonso, who blocked a potentially dangerous cut back from Bravenboer.
As half-time approached Lewes’ Cooper hit a long distance shot that evaded Megan Taylor’s reach in goal, but narrowly flew past the left-hand post.
It was the closest either team came to breaking the deadlock in the opening 40 minutes.
The second-half saw Crawley come out on the front foot, pinning Lewes into their own half in the opening minutes.
Crawley midfielder Verity Thompson-Ford worked tirelessly, breaking up the play and providing the platform for the Wasps attacks.
The game settled into a similar pattern to the first-half where neither team were able to find the final pass to unlock the defence and get a clear chance on goal.
The first real opportunity of the second-half came following a heavy touch from Lewes’s goalkeeper Georgina Smith but she was able to react quickly to block the incoming attacker’s effort.
Lewes responded with an attack of their own. Lucy Barker drove from midfield, working her way past two Crawley players before laying the ball off to Amelia Fogden on the edge of the box.
Fogden’s driving shot was heading for the bottom corner, but Taylor was able to dive to her right to tip it round the post.
It proved to be a pivotal moment.
The winner came in the 75th minute. A cross was swung into the Lewes box where Smith was unable to gather it cleanly. The ball looped up and Bravenboer was the quickest to react to slide the ball into the net.
Lewes pushed for an equaliser, but Crawley held out with Hunton intercepting a late chance as she had done effectively throughout the game.
The full-time whistle brought delirious celebrations as Chester lifted the trophy for Crawley with the unlucky Lewes team watching on.
Crawley Manager Dave Cole was delighted with the performance of his players.
He said: “I said in the interview before the game, these girls deserve something.
“Since I have come in in January, they have worked so hard. I know they have all got a lot of ability and they have brought it together in the last few games.
“Tonight, it’s all about them, they have done well and they deserve it!"
(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: (Crawley Wasps – Lewes): Goals (1-0); Shots (2 – 11); On target (2-4); Offsides (0-0); Fouls (8-8); Yellow Cards (0-0); Red Cards (0-0)
Crawley Wasps: Taylor, Rogers, Hunton, Lambert, Thompson-Ford, Chester, Bravenboer, Wilson, Palmer, Ciccardini, Sinclair.
Subs: Greenaway, Clarke, Moon, Simmons, Lu.
Lewes: G. Smith, M. Smith, Fisher, Read, Booth, White, Cooper, Young, Vivas Alonso, Exley, Behr.
Subs: Aldridge, Townsend, Barker, Fogden, McEvaddy.