The Sussex FA Development Futsal tournament reached its conclusion on Sunday at Southwick Leisure centre.
Southdown were able to field a strong squad and won their two group games 2-0 against last year’s winners, Newhaven and 5-1 against Mile Oak. Alisha Mainwaring scoring both goals in the opener and a further two in the second game with Mia Pordage picking up a brace and the scoring concluded by Anna Humphrey.
Southdown were passing the ball well and creating space with Gemma Hebditch linking up with both Mainwaring and Pordage with some fantastic play.
Ella Matthews was continually driving forward and a menace to the opposition defence and was unlucky not to get on the score sheet as was Leonie Sargent who was a continual threat not letting the opponents settle.
Crawley faced Southdown in the first of the semi-finals and the first exchanges were evenly matched.
Southdown took the lead through Pordage but were pegged back by Crawley. However, with Mainwaring providing the driving force Southdown edged ahead and Crawley were unable to respond. Southdown then stepped up a gear and scored another 5 goals without reply.
Both Mainwaring and Pordage bagging hatricks with Humphrey scoring her second of the tournament giving a final score of 7-1. Worthwhile winners but the score may have been different but for some fine defensive work by Molly Lacey and, in particular, Mia Davies who didn’t seem to miss a tackle all day.
Crawley may have added their total but even when getting past the defence, Hannah Drage in goal was superb.
Southdown were on high going into the final against Mile Oak, which was a rematch of their second group game.
It looked like Southdown would repeat the manner of the victory in the first meeting when they took an early lead through, not surprisingly, Mainwaring. However, Mile Oak were up for the final and were not about to roll over again. Perhaps a little over confident, all of Southdown were pushing forward when the ball was lost and broke to Mile Oak. Their striker used her pace to get away from the defence and drove her unstoppable shot in the far corner to level. The game was very close but Southdown edged ahead with yet another Mainwaring goal. Mile Oak continued to threaten but Davies maintained her defensive form with more solid tackling.
Few clear cut chances came to either team as the clock ticked down although Mile Oak narrowly shot wide from distance. However, Southdown held on to see the game out and the supporters and bench erupted at the final whistle. Last year Southdown missed out in the final on penalties but went one step further this year. The win will see them represent the county at the regional finals in May at Surrey University