Eastbourne Town vs. Saltdean United HERO

Superb Saltdean lift Women's Trophy

Words by Jamie Spoor
Eastbourne Town 1-9 Saltdean United Development

Saltdean United’s Development side put on an exhibition in clinical finishing yesterday afternoon, as hat-trick heroine Billie Phillpot spearheaded their charge to Sussex Women’s Challenge Trophy glory over a spirited Eastbourne Town side.

Going into the final, United had already sealed the Sussex County Women & Girls Football League title and from the outset it was clear they were determined to add the Trophy to their burgeoning collection.

Right from kick-off Saltdean were on the attack, as they looked to strike early. Two chances had already come and gone - through the impressive Maya Pritchard and a Neve McEvaddy header off the post - before Cate Hann opened the scoring on 17 minutes, prodding the ball home after a goalmouth scramble.

Billie Philpott added a quickfire second having been set up by Farrah Dorey, and McEvaddy should have done better but could only fire wide having found herself clean through with only Town keeper Elleah Fenner to beat.

To their credit, Eastbourne weathered the early storm and went close themselves in a rare foray forward. Skipper Danielle Parfitt called Olivia Reed into action as the Tigers keeper denied the striker with a good low save.

Parfitt was doing her best to influence proceedings and was involved again as Eastbourne got their goal four minutes shy of the interval, clipping a pass into Geri Burt who looked up, spotted the keeper off her line and steered home an excellent lobbed finish from distance.

But Eastbourne’s celebrations were short lived, as Saltdean re-established their two-goal lead almost immediately.

Pritchard had been a constant presence down the right for United with her darting runs from deep and she teed up Phillpot to smash in her second and her side’s third.

Things would get even better for the rampant Tigers only a minute later, with Eastbourne’s brief foothold quickly banished and normal service resumed.

3-1 became 4-1 as Philpott completed a quickfire treble with another composed finish. A deep corner picked out the forward and she made no mistake with an unerring strike through a crowd of players.

If Eastbourne thought their East Sussex neighbours would take their foot off the pedal in the second-half, they were mistaken.

Saltdean continued where they left off and put further distance between the sides as the string-pulling Pritchard set up Dorey to get in on the act six minutes after the restart.

Fenner tipped wide from Cooper before Philpott then turned provider for substitute Dani Jacobs; the latter tapping in Saltdean’s sixth after the former’s effort was saved.

Saltdean’s captain, Emily Towner, then added her name to the ever-lengthening scoresheet, curling in a well struck free-kick over the Eastbourne wall and into the bottom corner via the post.

With the clock ticking into stoppage time, it was then Jacobs once again bearing down on goal, this time keeping her composure one-on-one, to place her shot beyond the advancing Jacobs to make it 8-1.

With just three minutes left on the clock, Saltdean completed a comprehensive rout through Cooper, who scored direct from an in-swinging corner which caught all in the Eastbourne box off-guard.

There was no time for United to find another, which would have taken them into double figures, but for Manager Joe McTiffen that was of little consequence after such a remarkable performance.

“Going into the game I could tell the girls were really nervous and the occasion was getting to them a little bit, and that showed I think in the first 20 minutes or so,” said McTiffen.

“But then after that first goal I think things settled down for us, and then when you have the likes of Billie Phillpot who can get a first-half hattrick, you know the team is capable of something special.

Of course, Phillpot was just one of six different Saltdean goal-scorers, which pleased McTiffen no end.

“By the end we were scoring goals for fun across our front line,” he said, “and there were some cracking performances, and if it wasn’t for a strong display from Elleah Fenner in the Eastbourne Town goal, that scoreline could have looked very different.

“Of course, this is a young side, average age of only 18, so for them to play the way they played today against an experienced side like Eastbourne Town, is a real credit to them.”

Eastbourne Town vs. Saltdean United
Eastbourne Town vs. Saltdean United Development - 03-03-24
Highlights from the Sussex Women's Challenge Trophy Final 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 (Eastbourne-Saltdean): Goals (1-9), Shots (4-22), On Target (2-11), Corners (3-12), Fouls (4-3), Offsides (1-3), Yellow cards (0-0), Red cards (0-0).

Eastbourne Town: Fenner; Law, Vilciu, Da Silva, Das; Parfitt (C), Bryant, Chapman, Heather, Burt, Peacock. 
Subs: Walshaw, Beattie, Booth.

Saltdean United: Reed, Van Drongelen, Cooper, Towner (C), Aldridge; Hann, Wellcome, McEvaddy, Pritchard, Philpott, Dorey. 
Subs: Dannreuther, Jacobs, Wollard, Perrin, Harris.

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