Lindfield Juniors vs. Withdean Youth

Withdean edge Linfield in Girls Cup Final

Words by Sophie Munro
Lindfield Juniors 1-3 Withdean Youth

It was a first County Cup Final to remember for the players of Withdean Youth, as they triumphed over Lindfield Juniors yesterday morning at Culver Road. 

Both teams started off strong, but it didn’t take long for Withdean to take control of possession and start to dictate proceedings. 

With just six minutes on the clock, Lindfield goalkeeper Emmie Pickett was called into action after a deflected corner looked like it was heading for the back of the net, but she reacted quickly to palm it away, however, Withdean continued to push and would soon get the goal they were looking for. 

Just three minutes later, Withdean were awarded a free-kick and vice-captain, Charlie Beach stepped up to produce a stunning strike from range, which despite the best efforts of Pickett to keep it out, sailed just over her and under the crossbar to give Withdean a deserved 1-0 lead. 

Withdean didn’t stop there. In the 18th minute, Pickett was forced to make a massive save after Beach made a fantastic run towards goal and fired a powerful shot which was kept out by the fingertips of the keeper.

Lindfield’s defence couldn’t afford to switch off for a second in the first-half, with Withdean constantly looking to break at them with speed.

Indeed, Mia Christe looked certain to put Withdean 2-0 up when she made a great run through the middle of the pitch, and found herself with only Pickett to beat, but the Lindfield keeper was able to stick out a leg and make the save.

Up the other end, Lindfield’s attacking players continued to work hard in their search for an equaliser, and with 25 minutes on the clock they got their reward. 

A great ball over the top from the Lindfield backline saw Izzy Griffin played in on goal, and with only Lillie Dunn in the Withdean goal ahead of her, she was able to take a touch to bring the ball round her, and slot it into the empty net to make it 1-1.

The girls in green weren’t able to celebrate for long though, as Withdean were determined to put themselves back in front before half-time, and within minutes they’d snatched the lead back. 

This time it was Gabriella Roberts who got on the scoresheet, after being played through perfectly by Beach, and she slotted her first time shot confidently passed Pickett and into the far corner, just before the whistle sounded for half-time. 

The second-half began in much the same way as the first ended, with Withdean enjoying the bulk of possession and looking to create the goal that would give them a cushion.

That goal would eventually come through Christie, who was on hand to tap home the rebound, after Pickett initially did well to make the save from a driven shot by Roberts. 

Lindfield tried to get back into the game, but the Withdean attack was too consistent. In the 42nd minute, Roberts ran through and went one-on-one with goalkeeper Pickett but a fantastic save kept Lindfield in the contest. 

Pickett continued to keep the score at 3-1, not allowing Withdean to strengthen their lead but the Lindfield forwards couldn’t quite break down the Withdean defence, who held firm to ensure their team came away victorious.

Speaking after the game, Withdean Youth Manager Steve Beach said: “I thought it was a really good game, and that the players performed really well.

“It was a little bit tentative at the start, and it took us a while to get going, but when we scored the first goal, I think the girls improved. But Linfield are so resilient, so when they got the equaliser, it was game on from there.”

Beach didn’t shy away from praising his players, especially his midfield and strikers. 

“Charlie (Beach) in midfield played really strong and obviously Gabby (Roberts) up front as well, had a really good game.”

“We had a few firm words at half-time. I thought the girls did okay, but I thought we just had a few gears to go through in the second-half and to be fair they really stepped it up and I think deserved to win it in the end.” 

Lindfield Juniors vs. Withdean Youth
Lindfield Juniors vs. Withdean Youth - 05-05-24
Highlights from the Sussex Girls' Challenge Cup Final (Under-12s) - 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 (Lindfield Juniors-Withdean Youth) Goals (1-3), Shots (2-10), Shots on Target (1-7), Corners (0-11), Fouls (1-0), Offside (0-2), Yellow Cards (0-0), Red Cards (0-0).

Lindfield Juniors: Pickett (GK), Markwick, Halt, Baker, Griffin, Jefferson, Church, Fenton-Little, Woodward.
Subs: Bell, Thornton, Cunningham, Digweed.

Withdean Youth: Dunn (GK), Christie, Roberts, Green, Sarkoa, Beach, Watson, Trigg, Htay.
Subs: Key, Bloom, Whiteman, Feltham, Cox.

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