Farrugia double secures three points! – Lewes Community Football Club

Farrugia double secures three points!

Farrugia double secures three points!

Women's football news

Written by: Joe

Maria Farrugia’s cool-headed double steered Lewes FC Women to a first league win since November to lift Scot Booth’s troops off the foot of the table with a 2-1 result over Sheffield United on Sunday, reports Joe Short. Photos from James Boyes and Grace Jones.

Farrugia put the Rooks in front after 15 minutes when unleashing a shot from distance between two Blades defenders and past goalkeeper Fran Stenson.

Her second was a moment of brilliance as the Maltese playmaker spearheaded a counter-attack on 56 minutes and drilled a low effort into the net.

Isobel Goodwin pulled one back for United from the penalty spot but Lewes, captained once again by Rhian Cleverly at the back, valiantly fought on to secure three crucial points.

Huge crowd at the Pan
Sunday was our closest game to International Women’s Day on 8 March, and so the Dripping Pan was a festival of noise thanks to more than 800 supporters in the ground and musicians from East Sussex college in the Rook Inn.

It had been a fortnight since the dramatic stoppage-time defeat to Sunderland but there were no signs of nervousness in the squad back under the Sussex sunshine.

Farrugia was first to scent a goal when hitting the side netting just seven minutes in, while Hollie Olding flung herself at the ball to block a goal-bound shot at the other end moments later.

Thankfully the crowd didn’t have to wait long for the opener as Farrugia found her mark. She collected from Aimee Claypole on the edge of the area and fired left-footed past Stenson before the goalkeeper knew what had happened.

The goal had been coming but it triggered an attacking storm from the visitors that Lewes had to weather. Cleverly marshalled the defence so well that obvious chances were hard to come by and, when one did emerge, it was the captain who got in the way of a Jessica Sigsworth effort to clear the danger.

Moments after Cleverly’s heroics a collision between Sophie Whitehouse and Goodwin led to a lengthy stoppage, during which the Rooks goalkeeper received treatment. Thankfully she was cleared to continue, which would prove pertinent in the closing stages of the game.

Farrugia at the double
The second half began with more Sheffield United pressure but Lewes held their own and steadily began working their way back into it. So much so that a Lois Heuchan corner needed but a glance to be directed into the far corner of the net, but no-one could get their head on it.

It wasn’t long, though, before the home fans were cheering once again. It all began with a solid Olding block in the home penalty box, which rebounded out to Amelia Hazard, who turned and triggered the counter. Hazard found Jacqui Hand on the halfway line, and all she had to do was play in Farrugia, who did the rest. Farrugia glided into space, collected with ease and fended off a late challenge to cooly finish off the move.

The goal appeared to calm some nerves in the stands but our supporters were in for another long day of entertainment as Sheffield United hit back 13 minutes later. Bex Rayner had previously been denied by a superb Whitehouse save but drew a handball from Cleverly with her next attempt – the Rooks captain’s appeals that her arms were down ignored by the referee.

Whitehouse read Goodwin’s penalty but couldn’t stretch to her left far enough to parry away. At 2-1, the remaining 20 minutes were set to be a little tense.

Rooks stay calm to secure three points
Thankfully the hosts held on with only a couple of scares. An almighty scramble in the box was somehow forced away, while Whitehouse spectacularly denied Sophie Barker from range. Reanna Blades, playing more centrally than her usual position out on the wing, delivered two crunching slide tackles when mucking in with her defensive duties – both of which earned her yells of encouragement from her teammates.

At the other end, Rooks substitute Chelsea Ferguson did her job by disrupting the Blades defence and almost scoring herself.

Her first effort from a tight angle flashed across goal, before she was denied one-on-one in the fourth minute of stoppage time what would have been a clincher.

In the end Lewes didn’t need a third as they battled through five added minutes to secure a much-needed three points. The result lifts the Rooks to 11th in the table, two points off Reading and three behind London City.

Next up is a trip to Blackburn on Monday 11 March for a 7pm kick off.

Our next home game is on Sunday 17 March at 2pm against Watford, in another huge match for the Rooks in our battle against relegation. You can buy Lewes FC tickets today and secure your place at the game, and perhaps bring your friends and family along and enjoy a VIP beach hut for the day!