Withdean Youth vs. Hove Park Colts HERO

Hove Park Triumph in Girls’ Cup Final

Words by Luke Ashbery
Withdean Youth 0-3 Hove Park Colts

Lia Chauhan inspired Hove Park Colts to victory in the Sussex Girls’ Challenge Cup Final (Under-13s) against Withdean Galaxy yesterday morning at Culver Road. 

Chauhan assisted the first and scored the important second, as Withdean threw numbers forward in search of an equaliser before Gracie Cobb made it three just before the final whistle. 

Chauhan’s goal came in the 70th minute, after being played through on the left and carrying the ball forward, she cut inside and unleashed a curling effort into the far top corner to give Isla Bowling in the Withdean goal no chance. 

Withdean started the game on the front foot and had the first real chance of the game when a Maisie MacDonald long throw was flicked on by Rose Layzell, but Naomi Macwhinnie’s effort from close range was smothered by the Hove Park goalkeeper, Hattie Dawson. 

The opener came against the run of play in the 17th minute and took a moment of brilliance from Chauhan, who turned her defender on the edge of the area to leave her one-on-one with Bowling, who did well to save with her legs before the rebound fell to Elise Aston who finished first time into the empty net. 

The goal gave Hove Park a lift and their captain Annabelle Stickland was unlucky not to double their lead in the 23rd minute when her run down the left ended up with her striking the post from a tight angle. 

A minute later Stickland had another effort, this time from long range, but it flew agonisingly just over the bar with Bowling looking beaten.

Hove Park began to take control and nearly scored again in the 27th minute after the ball fell to Chauhan on the edge of the area with her effort hitting the inside of the post and trickling out for a goal kick. 

Withdean continued to look dangerous from set-pieces, but Hove Park remained resolute in defence to ensure they went into half-time with the lead. 

Again, Withdean started the half strongly, and in the 51st minute the impressive wing-back, Layzell, stabbed just wide after carrying the ball from the halfway line into the Hove Park box. 

Withdean moved captain Zoe White from centre-back to left midfield at half-time, giving them some more impetuous going forward. 

However, with White further up the field, Hove Park continued to look dangerous when attacking and they hit the post for the second and third time through Cobb and Kitty Mitchell in the 60th and 68th minute. 

With time running out Withdean began to throw more and more bodies forward and another long throw in the 89th caused problems in the Hove Park box with the ball eventually reaching Florence Reilly who did well to control her shot on target, but it was comfortably saved. 

That was to be their final chance with Hove Park launching a counterattack straight after, resulting in Chauhan’s strike which ensured they would be champions. 

There was just enough time for Cobb to strike, with the now tired Withdean losing the ball from the restart and Cobb’s left-footed shot sneaking past Bowling into the bottom corner. 

Post-match, Chris Owen, Hove Park Colts manager, said: “I’m chuffed for all of the girls, especially Lia [Chauhan] with her top-bins goal, that was amazing.

“I felt we were ready for it [the game], we put the training in place and I wanted the girls to enjoy it, and the win was the cherry on the cake!”

Withdean Youth vs. Hove Park Colts
Withdean Youth vs. Hove Park Colts - 14-04-24
Highlights from the Sussex Girls' Challenge Cup Final (Under-13s) - 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-Hove Park Colts): Goals (0-3), Shots (6-12), Shots on target (4-7), Corners (5-4), Fouls (2-2), Offsides (1-1), Yellow cards (0-0), Red cards (0-0).

Withdean Youth: Bowing (GK), Macwhinnie, Moriarty, Muggleton, Penny, White (C), Layzell, Macdonald.
Subs: Reilly, Mohamed, Alonso-Mossinger, Griggs.

Hove Park Colts: Dawson (GK), Hughes, Stickland (C), Chauhan, Cobb, Aston, Philips, Dawson, Mathews.
Subs: Mitchell, Spence, Peart, Wright.

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