A sold-out crowd watching the Rooks? Check.
A sold-out crowd watching the Rooks beat the league champions? Check.
A sold-out crowd watching the Rooks beat the league champions with the match-winning goal scored by our goalkeeper? Amazingly, check.
Lewes’ final game of the season saw Craig Gill’s troops beat Liverpool in front of a record crowd, with goals from Georgia Timms and our keeper (yes, keeper!) Tatiana Saunders.
Lewes had to come from behind after Ashley Hodson had put the Reds in front on 33 minutes, capitalising on a breakaway just minutes after Paula Howells had hit the crossbar at the other end.
But Lewes weren’t to be denied even by the league champions, who were on a remarkable 20-match unbeaten streak. The hosts rallied and kept up the high press and dangerous set pieces, and eventually got their reward.
Just a minute before the break Lucy Porter, playing in a deeper midfield role in this game, did well to work herself away from two defenders, twisting before powering forward and playing through Timms through, who forced a corner.
With the clock ticking towards half time, Lucy Ashworth-Clifford swung a pinpoint corner into the six yard box, where Timms powered in a header to level the game.
Lewes were good for their goal and dominated much of the second-half chances too. But the moment of the day came from the unlikeliest of sources, when Saunders measured up to take a free kick.
In the 71st minute, a foul on Ellie Noble deep in the the Lewes half gave Saunders the chance to freely punt up field. She stepped up and the ball flew, high above everyone, deep into the Liverpool box and bounced over the reach of Charlotte Clarke to nestle into the goal.
It was a remarkable moment for the incredibly hard-working keeper, who was instantly mobbed by her teammates. As for the record 2,347 fans in attendance, it was a moment to remember for ever.
Saunders was not just Lewes’ star striker for the day, but also the team’s star goalkeeper, pulling off numerous great saves throughout to limit Liverpool to a solitary goal.
And the cheers at full time were justifiably reserved for the goalkeeper, as well as the departing manager Gill, who said his goodbyes to the supporters in all four stands of the Dripping Pan.
The result means Lewes finish the season with a memorable victory against the champions. The Rooks sit eighth in the FA Women’s Championship table, with 29 points from a rollercoaster season. For now, it’s all about looking ahead and building in the summer for a successful new season to come later in the year.
Lewes: Saunders; McKenna, Hack, Cousins, Mason; Dalton, Hazard, Howells, Porter, Ashworth-Clifford; Timms
Subs: Noble, O’Rourke, Longhurst
Subs not used: Ayisi, Logan, Cordier, Cross, Hartley, Salgado
Report: Tai Kolade
Photos: James Boyes (Flickr)