Lindfield Juniors vs. Crawley Wasps

Heaton the heroine for Wasps

Words by Girvane Bila
Lindfield Juniors 1-2 Crawley Wasps

Crawley Wasps lifted the Sussex Girls’ Challenge Cup (Under-12s) for the first time after beating Lindfield Juniors 1-2 at Culver Road yesterday morning. 

The Wasps delivered a stellar performance, with captain Sofia Heaton notching a brace in the second-half to secure victory. 

Lindfield, playing in their first County Cup Final since 2008, put in a determined performance, and thanks to a Lydia Watts goal five minutes from time, pushed Wasps to the very end. However, the Crawley side, were able to keep their composure and secure the win. 

The first-half saw both teams battling to gain control of possession, resulting in a real end-to-end battle, amplified by a wonderful crowd who cheered on their respective teams. 

The first big chance of the game went Wasps’ way, when Layla Tek, instinctive flick crashed against the crossbar in the 14th minute. 

More battle for control ensued until three minutes from half-time when Lindfield’s Watts delivered a great cross towards the far post, but no one was able to convert the chance presented. 

Lindfield put in a great defensive display in the first-half. Every dangerous attack posed by Wasps was met by superb defending from the Juniors, with Alana Grobbelaar and Millie Topping commanding the defence. Lindfield fans, among numerous other well-rehearsed songs, did try to convince everyone that we did all live in a “Millie Topping World”. 

If Wasps wanted to win, they would need to pose an immediate threat as soon as the second-half began.

That proved to be the case, as it was Crawley who asserted themselves more than their opponents which in turn saw them take a deserved lead in the 34th minute. 

Lana De Wolf was the catalyst, outrunning two opponents before cutting the ball back to Heaton, who scooped it up and launched a driven strike beyond Georgie Halsey in the Lindfield goal to give her team the lead.

Four minutes later and Dana Minster was brought down in the box, resulting in referee Jack Burton pointing to the spot. 

Captain Heaton stepped up and calmly placed her penalty past the outstretched Halsey to double Wasps’ lead. Their 2-0 lead could have been extended to three in the 51st minute after Williams’ long-range effort forced a good save from Halsey.

Lindfield were determined to give themselves a chance to save the game and force penalties. That -came courtesy of Watts, who was spotted in the centre with a darting run.

One-on-one with Wasps’ keeper Lily Warner, she fired cleanly into the bottom corner. 

And they could have equalised in added time when Alice Leaney found Watts again, who looked to curl it past Warner into the far corner, but her last-gasp chance narrowly missed the target. 

Despite the commendable Lindfield fight back, Wasps were able to hold firm and come away with a much-deserved win.

Speaking after the game, Wasps’ manager Dave Heaton was very happy with his team’s performance.

“A really tight enjoyable game, probably not for the coaches but for the fans who were absolutely fantastic today,” he said.

“Both sides were nervous in the first-half and then the spaces opened up in the second, and luckily enough we managed to get the two goals to take that lead, but it was a close one towards the end,” he added.

Lindfield Juniors vs. Crawley Wasps YT
Lindfield Juniors vs. Crawley Wasps - 07-05-23
Highlights of the Sussex Girls' Challenge Cup Final (Under-12s) powered by Your Instant Replay.

(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: (Lindfield Juniors-Crawley Wasps) Goals (1-2); Shots (5-13); Shots on target (1-4); Offsides (0-0); Corners (0-8); Fouls (1-2); Yellow Cards (0-0); Red Cards (0-0).

Lindfield Juniors: Halsey, Grobbelaar, Stuart, Leaney, Carroll, Costin, Meeke, Watts, Topping.
Subs: Crudington, Sim, Roderick.

Crawley Wasps: Warner, Heaton, Mower, Williams, Morgan, Tek, McLean, Minster, De Wolf.
Subs: Jackson, Lyons, White, O’Neill, Hooper.

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