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Lewes U18 1 : 0 Parkwood Ladies
Thankfully the heavy clouds and rain cleared for the girls first home game of the season on the Rookery 3G which resulted in a hard fought victory for the young U18s against a well drilled Parkwood Ladies.
Lewes were dealt a blow before the game with two key players unavailable due to educational commitments. A reshuffle of the pack saw Katie Cooper drop back into centre back after recovering from injury in place of the missing Ferguson, and Luci Frith replacing Halloren on the left.
The game started well with some good possession for the girls, but they soon found themselves up against a resilient back five. Chloe Nye was running the channels well but space was at a minimum.
There were some meaty challenges, one of which saw the creative Megan Cranford flattened as she threatened to break free. This didn’t intimidate the girls as they matched their opponents and stood up well to the test.
A great little through ball from Cranford looked to release the pacy Frith but her first touch let her down when she would have been clear.
Parkwood themselves were looking to get in behind the Rooks back line and when they did break the lines midway through the half
Jess Richardson tracked back well to time an inch perfect tackle only for it to be deemed a foul to the amazement of the crowd. The free kick luckily came to no danger.
It was then time to welcome back the injured duo of Becky Simmons and Minnie Sheppard for their first minutes of the season with them both linking up play well.
The pace of Cooper and Richardson and fellow full back Lawrence gave a great balance for the composure of skipper for the day Amy Critchfield.
The half came to an end goalless but with lots of promise for the second half.
A half time reshuffle from Manager Kelly Newton along with some great encouragement saw the girls come out with a new lease of energy. Cooper went back to her familiar central role alongside Cranford which enabled them to get Parkwood on the back foot.
The lively Hannah Goffi reverted to right back and looked composed and keen to build from the back where she could.
Five minutes after the restart, in a rare foray forward it was Amy Critchfield who turned provider as she drove out of defence. After a good exchange down the left saw her cut inside the centre back whose ill-timed lunge took her to the floor inside the area for a clear penalty.
After a brief conversation between Cooper and Cranford with was the latter who stepped up confidently to smash the ball home.
Chances were hard to come by with a few shots from distance failing to test the keeper. Kitty Chalkey's clever movement nearly found her in on goal a few times and Chloe Nye eventually found herself one on one but couldn’t find the finish when she rounded the keeper.
Parkwood were always looking to break and keeper Jasmine Moulding had to be on her toes to clear the ball when the back line were turned with the ball over the top.
With just the single goal to hold on to it was never comfortable, but the Rooks held firm to claim all three points.
Lewes U18s: Moulding, Lawrence, A Critchfield, Cooper, Richardson, M Critchfield, Goffi, Frith, Chalkley, Cranford, Nye.
Subs: Simmons, Sheppard, Bliss.
MVP: Amy Critchfield - a captains performance, epitomised with a great run to win the penalty.
Goal: Cranford 51