Burgess Hill Town Women 2 [Lotti Pollendine, Jess Gray] Saltdean 2 [ 2-4 AET]
The Hillians knew they had a tough task against opponents playing in a higher League 2 divisions above themselves. However they can look back on this game with great pride , having held Saltdean to a 2-2 draw at the end of normal time , and only conceding goals in the 2nd half of extra time. The performance gives a lot of confidence for a successful League season ahead
In the opening 15 minutes the Hillians took time to assess the quality of their opponents who attacked from the start with Hillians Keeper Casey Dunford soon in action.
However in the 16th minutes the Hillians went ahead, a Charley Law shot being deflected and from the resulting corner Jess Gray,s cross was header home by Lotti Pollendine to the delight of her teammates.
The game contained at a fast pace with Saltdean's attacks being broken down by the determined back four of Gittins, Wilson , making her debut, Harvey and Kisielewska enabled half time to be reached with the scores level whilst on the few occasions they had chances to score their shots generally were off target . keeper Dunford did well to come out to smother a planned shot whilst Gittins was relieved to see her attempted clearance hit the post.
The half ended with Saltdean determined to score, hitting the bar just before the interval, and the Hillians equally determined to finish the half ahead.
Saltdean worked hard to get back into the game and with just over 10 mins gone a high cross/shot eluded Dunford to bring the scores level. To their credit the Hillians raised their game and within minutes a typical Jess Gray free kick from way out went in just under the bar to regain Hillians lead.
The Hillians then had to defend stoutly with Dunford saving well on several occasions whilst up front Jodie Kelly , making her debut , replaced the injured Pollendine . Eventually , with just 15 mins remaining, Saltdean levelled the score again, Dunford getting her hand to the ball but unable to deflect it away from the net .
Both sides had chances to score the winning goal but the final whistle blew with the score 2-2
In extra time The Hillians had to "dig deep" to stay in the game with Dunford often in action , and the teams turned round with no further score. However with Saltdean appearing to be fitter they scored twice to go into the next round .
This was a bitter disappointment for the Hillians, who should be very proud of making Saltdean work very hard for their victory and Manager Freitas praised the whole team for their "never say die" attitude, and named keeper Casey Dunford as his "Player of the Match"