Horsham Sparrows u14 girls made the trip to Sussex FA Headquarters at Culver Road, Lancing, for the Sussex Girls Challenge Cup final vs. Mile Oak on March 16th. Their way to the final involved wins over Angmering, Crawley Town (AET) and Cuckfield Cosmos respectively.
With the sun beaming down on an immaculate playing surface, Sparrows made a bright start against a Mile Oak team willing to pressurise the player with the ball. Mile Oak’s defence was immediately under attack with some neat interplay up-front. Sparrows took the lead on 8 minutes when Bronwen drove through the heart of the Mile Oak defence to finish neatly in the bottom right-hand corner. Mile Oak responded well to the early setback and put sustained pressure on the Sparrows goal with some great through-balls out of defence, forcing the Sparrows defenders on the back foot and creating some nervy moments for the Sparrows’ supporters.
A free kick conceded allowed the ever-accurate Fliss to ‘tee one up’, Mile Oak’s goal in her sights. Her powerful free kick was turned away by the impressive Maisie in the Mile Oak goal as Sparrows began to take control towards the end of the half. Fliss got her reward for an industrious first 35 minutes when she broke clear to finish powerfully and put Sparrows 2-0 up at half time.
Mile Oak began the second half well and the Sparrows defence had to maintain their focus to prevent them getting back into the game. Sarah, throughout the game mopping up any Mile Oak attack, continued to marshal her defence superbly through this spell and the match. Sparrows then began to find their rhythm once more and, after a period of sustained pressure on the Mile Oak goal, Jordan headed home to make it 3-0. Mile Oak continued to press for a goal but, caught by a team always looking dangerous in attack, 4-0 arrived when Daisy turned in.
The final whistle was greeted with cheers from the Sparrows players and supporters as they claimed the club’s first Sussex FA Challenge Cup victory. Thanks has to go to the Sussex FA for putting on such a spectacular event for teams entering their competition.
Horsham Sparrows gave an excellent team display, epitomised by the courage of defender Grace to play despite the death of her father Phil earlier in the week. He was always a regular on the touchline at games and will be sorely missed by all who knew him. The thoughts and prayers of all connected with Sparrows are with the family at this difficult time.
Moore (GK), McMartin, Pepper, Perkins, Araniyasundaran, Thomas (c), Wheatley, Love, Fitton, Browning, Younger, Otley, Bunday