Girls' Cup HERO

Sussex Girls’ Challenge Cup Final (Under-14s) Preview

Words by Sophie Munro
Haywards Heath Town vs. Worthing United Youth

The final of the Sussex Girls’ Challenge Cup (Under-14s) is set to be played on Sunday 28 April 2024 between Haywards Heath Town and Worthing United Youth. 

Haywards Heath Town vs. Worthing United Youth
Sussex Girls’ Challenge Cup Final (Under-14s)
Date: Sunday 28 April 2024
Kick-off: 10:30am
Venue: Sussex County FA, Culver Road, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 9AX

The Sussex Girls’ Challenge Cup Final is just days away and for Worthing United Youth manager, James Glover, he’ll be hoping his side can win their third Cup Final in a row.

“It’s brilliant, this will be the third year on the run that these girls have got to the final and they won the last two, they want to make it three in a row,” said Glover.

“They’ve been aiming for the final since the start of the season, and as soon as the season started, they were already talking about going on to win the Cup Final, they’re really looking forward to it.”

Worthing United are not shy of goals in this competition, with Glover's side having scored 32 goals in the run-up to the final, a number that aids their confidence.

“We know we can score goals and it’s all over the pitch as well, that helps,” he said “our defenders are able to pop up and get goals when they need to so that certainly gives confidence but, in reality, it’s a team and they know that if only one person gets the goals that’s fine.

“They really don’t care who gets the goals, as long as they win.”

Away from the Cup, the girls have had a challenging season, but it’s still one to be proud of, especially playing in a boy’s league, where they’ve overcome a lot of challenges thrown their way.

“The last couple of years they’ve played in the boys league, they’ve moved through the divisions, this year they’re in the top division, boys are really starting to get big, and the physicality has been an issue at times, but they’ve done me proud, all season,” said Glover.

Worthing are a team who stand united, with many of the girls being loyal to the side for over five years.

“This is a squad who has been together for a number of years,” said Glover, “some of these girls have been with us for five or six years and as the club has progressed and the team has been successful, we’ve had other girls want to join us.

“It’s not one of those situations where we’ve had to recruit in this position or that position.

“Organically the squad has developed, seeing new players coming in, it’s strengthening the squad and the girls already here have responded to that challenge.”

But what does Glover expect from Haywards Heath Town in the Final?

“We know how they play, three of the girls in our squad on Sunday play for Haywards Heath so we watch them play a lot.

“They’ve got some very good players, we know they will come to play football," he said, “they’ll pass the ball around nicely, we’ve just got to get a hold of the ball and take our chances.”

Haywards Heath Town Manager, Danny Ross, has had a challenging run during his first season with the team.

“To reach the final is a wonderful achievement, however, it means a great deal more because this is our first season together,” said Ross.

“Haywards Heath didn't have a team for this age group before this season. Trials were very late last pre-season, but we managed to group together a very talented set of girls who have worked hard to adapt to one another and the system we play.”

Ross’ side have had a similar run to Worthing United, dominating games and defeating sides such as Heathfield & Horam 12-0 in the Quater-Finals.

“The girls have taken it in their stride, not thinking too much about the stage we are at in the competition, but just taking it on a game-by-game basis.”

“The girls have had a lot of JPL games as well, and been very successful, they are about to win the league (providing we win on Saturday), and they had a long cup run in the JPL cup, so there have been lots of games and big challenges and they have coped with it all fantastically.”

Their incredible run means they’ve scored a total of 31 goals in the competition, just one less than Worthing United.

With the goals flying in, does Ross believe it’ll give his side confidence in the final against the past winners?

“The county cup games are slightly different for us,” said Ross, “I’ve worked with James a lot in the past, as his coach at Worthing, and essentially the roles have switched here at Haywards Heath, and some of our girls play for both sides, but could only play for one team in the county cup, so we are split.”

“My daughter stayed with me, and James' daughter stayed with him, and the rest chose, and it worked out quite evenly,” he said, “So whilst we will have confidence going into the game, I know they will have as well.

“I think this game will be different to our others because it could be a game where the best defence wins the game, and it’s an interesting prospect.”

Haywards Heath and Worthing United have strong sides, with both managers knowing each other's sides well it will make for an interesting final. 

So, just what does Ross expect from Glover’s side?

“I expect them to be strong and confident, and to be a big threat in front of goal. They have been in this final for the last two seasons, so they know how to win it and what this special occasion is all about.

“Only four girls at Haywards Heath have been in that situation, but I remain happy with this group of players, and if they all play well and to the system, I have every confidence in them.

“We’ll have something up our sleeve that’s for sure!”

Entry prices are as follows (cash and card accepted):

£5.00 Adult (17+)
£3.00 Concession (66+ and students with valid student ID card)
£1.00 Child (16 and under)
Official Match Day Programme will be available online

For further details about the Sussex Girls’ Challenge Cup (Under-14s) please contact:

T: 01903 753547

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