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Battling Brighton climb closer to safety

By Shaun Pimley

Women's weekend review - final league match could prove decisive for 1s, important win for 5s

For the first time this season, Brighton and Hove are out of the relegation places in the South Clubs Women's League after a goalless draw at home to London Wayfarers on Saturday.

Happy captain Amanda Billington was pleased with the point "although it felt like a win".

With games against the top two over the next fortnight, Brighton's eyes will be on their final fixture of the season against Reading, the side immediately below them, at Blatchington, a match which could decide who stays up.

"The game came down to a two-minute spell where a cracking run from Milly along the back line pulled the opposition towards her before she passed to Fran who dived and shot at what looked like an open goal," reports Amanda. "But the LW goalkeeper appeared from nowhere to put the ball wide.

"The resulting corner was quickly intercepted and Brighton’s defence found themselves in a four-on-three overload. LW passed the ball around the defence to what looked like another open goal but were denied by our fully stretched goalkeeper. The game went on to be a very uneventful, with most of the play between the Ds, except for a similar two-minute goal hunt in the second half where Brighton couldn’t quite get on the end of another open goal and LW responded with a top right drag flick which was saved with a full stretch dive.

"The point takes Brighton out of the relegation zone for the first time this season. Reading is only one point behind and will be playing at Blatch in the last league game of the season on March 30 so please book it now and get yourselves there to cheer us on."

After the disappointment of being held to a draw by Sussex League premier division promotion rivals Hailsham last week, the 2s suffered again on Saturday when they went down 4-0 at Lewes 2s, only their second defeat of the season.

"Having pulled out a barnstorming performance last week, we hoped to continue our run of good form into the business end of the league," reports captain Nivene Raafat. "Sadly, Lewes had other ideas.

"We started strongly, making inroads into their 23, but Lewes were quick to close us down and our options were limited. We struggled to find each other in what felt like a sea of green and were unable to mount any meaningful attacks on goal. Lewes, fielding a very strong 11, broke the deadlock early on with a hard pass from a 16 that managed to find their high striker, leaving her in a one-on-one with our keeper.

"They scored a second moments later with a similar move. Our heads dropped and before we knew it, we were 4-0 down. We couldn’t find an answer to their pace and 3D skills and ended up trapped inside our own half.

"But, as so often this season, we found our groove in the second half. Player of the match Clare was outstanding as centre mid, shield player, right mid ... she was basically everywhere in midfield! Kelly, Redders and Laura worked tirelessly on the left and our defence (Hannahs E, P and L and Amanda) worked together to keep Lewes out of our D.

"Irish and Jo were unlucky not to get on the scoresheet with a couple of late strikes but sadly, despite fighting tooth and nail, we couldn’t mount the comeback we wanted."

Brighton remain second, three points behind the leaders and with a significantly inferior goal difference with four games to go.

At the other end of the table the 3s earned a good point in a 2-2 draw with Burgess Hill 1s to keep themselves clear of danger.

In division one the 4s won 1-0 at Southwick 1s while the 5s made light of their missing captains by earning a valuable 4-0 victory over bottom side Worthing 2s to banish any lingering relegation concerns.

Guest match reporter Cazza 'Wazza' Mulliner was full of praise for her team. "The 5s game this week was at home to a struggling Worthing team. It was going to be one of the most important games of the season so far. A game to give us some breathing space from the teams below, a game to climb up the table, a game where the effort of all the previous weeks finally pays off and we were going to earn ourselves three points.

"So how did it go? Well, to begin with, our two fantastic captains decided to give this one a miss and instead have a weekend of zorbing, drinking and dressing up as Disney princesses...

"Not a problem: we are a team that stick together, battle hard and support each other. The game itself was all Brighton; we commanded the midfield from the beginning to the end with some great pressure, had some excellent team play which finally resulted in a brilliant strike from the top of the ‘D’ to see us into half time 1-0 up.

"We came out in the second half hungry for more, we continued where we left off. Worthing couldn’t get a look in, our defence stood strong when required, our forwards having chance after chance, we were switching the play, running off the ball, one-two passing, all resulting in a superb 4-0 win.

"All I can say is that it was a pleasure to be part of the 13 that played on Saturday and a pleasure to be part of the ‘fantastic fives’. Now it’s onwards and upwards for the last four games of the season. A special mention and thanks must go to all the people who came to watch and support us on a cold windy Saturday late afternoon."

The 6s made it ten wins in division two this season with a 3-2 victory at Burgess Hill 3s to cement their place in the top four.

Captain Michaela Kerrigan reports: “A startling performance from the 6s this Saturday. Accurate passes, looking up and ‘eyes tell lies’ were all on display within the first few minutes of the game.
“Just five minutes and five seconds in Anah scored the first goal, a marvellous reverse stick hit from the top left of the D. Would the 6s be able to keep up the pace and produce more of the excellent play?

“With the opposition not quite finding the goal in the first half, Brighton used this advantage and Anah scored another goal from a short corner 22 minutes in.

“The second half saw more of a balance of play between the teams and Burgess Hill managed to score two in quick succession. The 6s’ determination shone through and Mon made some cracking saves, even saving a penalty flick!

“Halfway through the second half the 6s won a quick succession of short corners and the captain Michaela managed to score the third and final goal, leaving the score 3-2 to BHHC.

“Congratulations to Mon, who was named ‘Mon of the match’ for her great saves and her interesting dance celebrations.”

The 7s started well against Crawley 2s but were left frustrated in a 4-1 home defeat in division three, according to Laura Ortiz-Ruiz de Gordoa.

"Our most eventful match of the season ... I’m not sure where to start," she reports. "We started strong against a better team on paper. We scored first which boosted our confidence. We were holding them back; however, their first goal came 25 minutes into the first half.

"Very soon after, the away referee stopped the game to discuss a discrepancy on the match sheet. This stoppage was quite lengthy and, I must admit, it did destabilise us in a way that we struggled to get back to the game for the rest of the first half.

"A large dose of Haribo, a change of tactics and loads of positive feedback saw us start the second half strong again; however, they managed to get past us time and time again. A missed penalty flick and a disallowed goal added to everyone’s level of frustration, even the 6s who where supporting us from the sideline. A game to learn from and move on."

Updated 14:10 - 25 Apr 2019 by David Chappell

Where next?

Leaders show their strength and close on title Men's weekend review - Vets denied on penalties in cup, Jason Bryant hits five for rampant 7s
Goalkeeper training cancelled on Tuesday night Please note tonight's session has been called off

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