Withdean Youth vs. Worthing United Youth HERO

Commanding Worthing edge Withdean

Words by Rumyana Penzova
Withdean Youth 1-3 Worthing United Youth

Worthing United Youth secured the Sussex Girls Challenge Cup (Under-15s) beating Withdean Youth 3-1 in an intense game at Culver Road, in front of 144 spectators. 

The two teams put up a great fight, but it was Worthing who came out on top after 80 minutes, with Willow Exley scoring two of their three goals.

Both sides looked to be evenly matched in the first-half, exchanging chances and trying their luck in each other’s penalty areas.

Worthing’s Elena Beck was denied by Withdean keeper Ashia Tarzi early in the game, with Beck attempting a long-range shot.

In the 22nd minute, Willow Exley was fouled in the box, resulting in a penalty for Worthing, which Exley slotted home coolly into the top left corner. 

Yet just ten minutes later Withdean equalized via Bo Hughes after a great pass from the left from Isabella Farooqi, whose fabulous strike from a distance will certainly be one for her to remember. 

It looked like the first-half was going to end all square, but Worthing had other ideas. 

An injury time corner saw a lose ball fall to their captain, Chloe Reed, who didn’t hesitate to smash it into the net. 

Withdean started the second-half the stronger, as they began their hunt for their second equalizer. 

Five minutes after the start of the half, Mia Starr was denied by Worthing keeper Georgina Smith, who came on from the bench for the second period of the game. 

In the 55th minute Exley slotted home her second goal of the afternoon, and third for Worthing, after a great effort from the right, which saw her expertly guide her shot into the far top corner.

Withdean did not back down and were looking for more, with Darcie Flower-O'Brien almost brining her team their second goal, but she was denied by Worthing keeper Smith.

Just minutes after Worthing broke away and Libby Bunn tried to get past Withdean keeper Tarzi unsuccessfully.

In the end, Worthing ended up lifting the Sussex Girls’ Challenge Cup (Under-15s) despite Withdean’s brave efforts. 

Worthing manager Mark Whitlock was very pleased with his players after the game.

“It was a really tough game; we took our chances,” he said. 

“The girls have really stepped up from the league game and they deserve the result. Of course the goal just before half-time changed a few things but, the team learned from the last game against them and were able to keep that focus”

Regarding double-goal-scorer Willow Axley, Whitlock said:

“She had a great game. She’s very versatile and made a very big difference and she’s certainly got a bright future.”

Whitlock was also keen praise the captain of the team, Chloe Read: "She really led by example today," said Whitlock, "she's someone that all the girls can look up to and whenever we're in a tight spot, she's there showing that leadership."

Withdean Youth vs. Worthing United Youth thumbnail
Withdean Youth vs. Worthing United Youth - 26-03-23
Highlights of the Sussex Girls' Challenge Cup Final (Under-15s) powered by Your Instant Replay.

(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 (Withdean Youth-Worthing United Youth): Goals (1-3), Shots (10-10), Shots on target (9-9), Corners (1-3), Fouls (2-9), Yellow cards (0-0), Red cards (0-0)

Withdean Youth: Tarzi, Hughes, Stray, Darley, Kyffin-Walton, Griffin, Atkins, Ricca-Smith, Flower-O'Brien, Farooqi, Wickham
Subs: Rainey, Bagaeen, Starr

Worthing United Youth: Whitlock, Hilton, Read, Glover, Exley, Bell, Beck, Wood, Babinskaite, Wood, Shepard 
Subs: Smith, Willett, Grim, Bunn, Freestone

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