Brighton and Hove Albion Women successfully retained the Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup – despite the best efforts of a battling Lewes Ladies side in the final.
Two second half goals from the Seagulls were enough to see them win a hard-fought encounter at Culver Road on Thursday night.
The first half was a tight affair with both defences holding firm and few chances being created for either side. Kim Stenning and Catherine O’Hagan both had efforts at goal for Brighton while Andreia Veiga, Naomi Cole and Kelly Newton went close for Lewes.
Brighton took the lead in spectacular fashion in the 63rd minute when Kirsty Barton’s looping effort from the edge of the box gave Lewes keeper Michelle Beazley no chance.
It was 2-0 just seven minutes later when a defensive mix-up, following a long ball into the box, allowed Cherelle Khassal the easiest of tap-ins.
Lewes Ladies had been without luck just four days previously when a late goal from Millwall’s Natalie Grafton saw them beaten 1-0 by the league leaders in the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division.
And a lack of fortune was again evident when a Cole from a tight angle came back off the woodwork.
But the Rookettes can take heart from pushing an Albion outfit that has now won the trophy 14 times in the past 19 years all the way in the final.
Rookettes supporter Jane Roberts summed up the mood when she said: “Brighton Ladies edged it, but Lewes Ladies FC fought hard and had chances. Played their hearts out. Forever a supporter.”