Brighton and Hove's women came home empty handed from Sussex Ladies KO finals day at East Grinstead on Saturday after gallant efforts in both the Cup and Plate showpieces.
The club's women’s 1s went down 2-0 to Horsham in the Sussex Cup final, when two first-half short corner goals proved the difference between the sides in persistent rain. But Brighton, underdogs going into the match, had their chances and pressed hard in the second half, even having a penalty stroke saved, as they tried to get back into the game.
After Horsham’s opening goal after only three minutes following a short corner, which the defenders could only partially clear, Brighton responded brightly, three times getting in behind the defence on the left but failing to get the vital touch as the ball flashed across close to the goal.
A second short corner - this time crisply struck - after 20 minutes doubled Horsham's lead but Brighton stuck to their task and early in the second half they had a golden chance to reduce the arrears as Lauren Allymohamed was upended in the circle by the goalkeeper when clean through. Brighton failed to convert the resulting stroke but continued to press the strong Horsham defence and won several short corners. As the game became stretched Amanda Billington, the Brighton goalkeeper, was called upon to make a number of saves but there were no further goals.
Brighton emerged with credit against a Horsham side that had finished higher in the South League division one and won promotion to the National League, with Kendall Deck among several players to impress.
Brighton and Hove women’s 5s suffered heartbreak as they lost on penalty strokes after a 1-1 draw in the Sussex Plate final with Southwick 1s.
A goal from Kaz - who dived full length to slip the ball under the goalkeeper - was scant reward for Brighton's first half dominance, with Zoe Beglin and Sorcha Lee proving a constant threat down the right. But Southwick hit back early in the second half with a looping shot and pressed hard for a winner, only to be kept at bay by some stout defence - in which Martine Schrik was outstanding - and excellent goalkeeping by Abbie Wiltshire.
In a tense penalty shootout Southwick emerged 3-2 winners after 14 strokes were taken. Abbie made several good saves while Aisha Hoten and Marie Jarvis were successful from the spot for Brighton.
Many thanks to the band of Brighton and Hove supporters who cheered throughout despite the heavy rain and to Neil Beglin for the photos.
Updated 16:50 - 24 May 2018 by Matt Sale