Georgia bridges the gap as Lewes win first trophy under Donoghue

Lewes celebrate winning the FAWPL Plate, April 23 2017 (Photo: Clive Jones)

The Premier League Plate is Lewes’s first national silverware (Photo: Clive Jones)

  • Lewes beat Huddersfield Town 4-0 to win FAW Premier League Plate
  • Spurs reserves clinch league/cup double after beating Blackburn Rovers 3-1 in extra time in the Reserves League Cup
  • Burgess Hill Town make it a Sussex double as they defeat Cray Valley 2-1 – also after extra time – in the South East Counties Chairman’s Cup final
  • And Parkwood Rangers achieve their own league-and-cup double with a 6-0 League Cup victory over Worthing

Lewes carved their name into Premier League history by winning the league’s Plate competition with a 4-0 victory over Huddersfield Town – their first national trophy.

Georgia Bridges led the way with two goals – including the crucial opener after only six minutes – and Danni Lane and Rachel Palmer also got on the scoresheet as the Premier League Southern side powered to a convincing win over their Northern Division rivals.

Lewes had bowed out of the senior competition – the League Cup – in the quaintly called determining round, losing on penalties to Cambridge United, from the next tier down.

But they have enjoyed an unblemished route to Plate success, enjoying a bye and a walkover before defeating Cambridge’s divisional rivals Luton Town 6-0 in the quarter-finals and then Leicester City – who are four places above Huddersfield – 1-0 in the semis.

Today’s victory ensured they won the trophy without conceding a goal – albeit with the help of those two free passages.

It was a first trophy at the club for manager John Donoghue, who joined Lewes following his departure from Sussex neighbours Brighton before the start of the 2014/15 season.

With the club set to finish sixth – their current highest ever Premier League finish – or seventh, they are on course for the most successful season in their 15-year history.

Georgia Bridges celebrates scoring for Lewes against Huddersfield Town in the FA Premier League Plate (Photo: Clive Jones)

Goalscorer Georgia Bridges is congratulated by team-mates as Lewes head for victory (Photo: Clive Jones)

And today’s comprehensive victory is a fitting reward for a vastly improved campaign on the pitch.

Donoghue told Sent Her Forward before the game he hoped the players would “play the game and not the occasion”.

It seems he needn’t have worried as the Rookettes controlled big chunks of the final, at Brackley Town FC, leading 1-0 at half-time and then finishing off Huddersfield with three goals in the last half-hour.

Donoghue told Sent Her Forward it had been a “great performance”.

But with a few class additions to a fine all-round team, in which young goalkeeper Lauren Dolbear, experienced defenders Tammy Waine and Leeta Rutherford and midfield stalwart Katie McIntyre have excelled, Lewes will hope to use this trophy win as a springboard for a new assault on the ultimate prize – a place in the Super League.

Hummes leads the all-conquering Spurs bandwagon to Reserves League and Cup double

Earlier at Brackley, Tottenham Hotspur‘s reserves clinched a league-and-cup double with a 3-1 extra-time victory over Blackburn Rovers‘ second string.

Both sides had won their respective reserves leagues, while their seniors are due to slug it out in the Premier League Champions play-off to determine which of the respective Southern and Northern Division winners are promoted to the Super League.

Ronnell Hummes, who had set up Amy Makewell‘s opener, scored twice in extra time after Leigh Wightman had equalised just before the end of normal time.

Wheatley double seals Chairman’s Cup triumph for Burgess Hill

There was also extra-time drama in Kent, where Burgess Hill Town lifted the South East Counties League’s Chairman’s Cup with a 2-1 victory over Cray Valley at Maidstone United FC.

Keeley Wheatley was the Burgess Hill match-winner with two extra-time goals before Nikki May grabbed what proved to be a consolation goal for the south-east London side.

The victory provided a welcome change of fortune for the Sussex team, who were relegated from the SECWFL’s Premier Division last season, jettisoned their second team and finished halfway down Division One West this year.

Parkwood at the double as they hit Worthing for six

But their Sussex neighbours, Worthing, who had dropped only six points in winning the Division One West title, as well as winning the Sussex FA Challenge Trophy, were unable to make it an unprecedented treble, going down to Premier Division champions Parkwood Rangers 6-0 in the League Cup final.

Worthing, who will play in the Premier Division next season, also reached the semi-finals of the Ryman Cup in an unforgettable debut season following their switch from Worthing Minors to Worthing Ladies.

But they were punished for not making the most of their chances on the day as four-goal Jade Whiteman, Emily Vaughan and Jamie-Leigh Dixon Hawkey scored for the powerful north Kent-based side who will play in the London & South East Regional Women’s League next season.

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