Four goals from Amelia K and a first-half hattrick from Emily C kept Brighton and Hove's Starlings on course to complete a perfect season as they notched up their 16th successive victory in the Sussex Girls Development League on Saturday.
The Starlings stepped out in the cold against an Eastbourne Chicks team who had been comfortably winning their games but came through to win 7-0. But it was not all plain sailing, reports coach Amy MacDonald.
"It was a rocky start, after multiple illness drop outs and with two players arriving with a minute to spare before the start, the girls took 10 minutes or so to settle and early exchanges were fairly even. Both teams were quick on the break, but both defences equal to that.
"The girls soon started to put some excellent passages of attacking play together though and took the lead as Emily C finished off a lovely team move with a calm slap shot. After the first goal, our attacking play continued to improve. Emily, India H and Amelia K upfront played fantastically well as a forward unit, with their running off the ball, their passing and their understanding of each others play all top drawer.
"Emily scored her second after a fantastic pass from Olivia S and her hattrick was completed before half time, when she picked the ball out of the air and gently batted it into the goal, after brilliant link up play from Amelia and India. Amelia then made it 4-0 before half time.
"Eastbourne did continue to threaten on the counter, but Tess W in goal and all the defence kept them out. They had a couple of key players who looked like they could get the breakthrough though.
"At half time coaches Amy Mac and Richard Cook praised the girls for their excellent attacking play, but asked that the midfielders and defenders tightened up a bit and stayed goal side, in order to quash Eastbourne's danger players.
"The girls responded well and the midfield and defence kept Eastbourne much quieter than they had been in the first half, doing exactly what had been asked of them. Meanwhile, in attack we continued to dominate. Some of the play was sublime, with India H in particular having her best game yet for the Starlings.
"After another excellent team move, Amelia took the ball around two players and struck an unstoppable hit from a tight angle across the D into the opposite bottom corner. At 5-0, we began to move players out of position to attempt to level the playing field. Amelia however scored a quick two goals before she was moved to right back. 7-0 it remained and that's 16 out of 16 now this season for the Starlings."
The Starlings have six games left and lead their older clubmates, the Gulls, by 13 points. The Gulls were held to a 1-1 draw at lowly South Downs Skylarks.
In the Boys Development League the Flippers maintain their fifth place with a thumping 5-0 win over South Saxons Arrows.