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F.A.Women's Cup - Road to the Final
Seahaven Harriers saw off the challenge of Rottingdean Village in the last round with a 5-2 victory, thanks to doubles from Emma Hatt and Taylor Coade with Fran O'Callaghan adding the other. Now they must travel along the coast to play Bexhill Utd.
Bexhill United LFC was formed, originally as Hastings Town and then as Hastings Utd, in 1989. Long time members of the South East Counties League, the Club played its football for several years in the lower divisions of the league but finally reached the top flight with promotion at the end of the 2000-01 season where they enjoyed a moderately successful first year in the Premier Division, finishing mid-table. The 2002-03 season, however, brought tough going and when the manager quit in November, the remaining loyal players and officials began a long and arduous battle for survival. Although the team was relegated, the survival battle was successful and kept the team alive to join forces during the summer with local side JC Tackleway. Merging the resources of the two sides brought about a transformation in the Club's fortunes. Immediately returning to the Premier Division for 2004-05, the Club finished high enough to earn a place in the newly formed London & South East League where the team played for two seasons before slipping back into the South East League.
Cup success has generally eluded the Club. Regular entrants in the FA Women's Cup, Bexhill have only once made it past the qualifying rounds; although the Club reached the final of the Sussex Women's Challenge Cup in 2005 losing 6-4 to Brighton and Hove Albion and were also losing finalists in the SECWFL Chairman's Cup in 2004. The Club's reserves, however, were the winners of the Kent Girls & Ladies Football League Cup in 1999-2000.
Manager Katie Wilde was a player with the club from 1997-2003 and 2006-2009 (break being down to University). Unfortunately she injured her knee so she took control of the Club in June 2009. The team is captain by the experienced Tina Lee and the only person, other than Katie, that was part of the original Hastings Town club is Tina Wilson but for continual service would be the longest serving member.
Samantha Thomson has been heavily involved in the Club since joining 2003, being an active committee member and negotiating a number of sponsorship deals to help support the club. A special mention must go to Kevin Doherty, now referred to as Honorary Life President, for over 15 years service (1993-2008) in various committee roles. His contribution was invaluable. The best asset Bexhill have acquired over the last few years was previous manager and current goalkeeper/super striker Helen Smith. Her off-field running of the club between October 2007 and June 2009 kept the Club going with her on field saves keeping the team in the competitive league they compete in today.
Bexhill have benefitted from the unfortunate demise of long running club Crowborough by attracting a number of ex-players. They now boast a squad of 30, and will look to hopefully establish a reserve side next season. They are currently top of the Premier Division and are the only unbeaten club in the league
Bexhill United FC will host the match and the home side will go into the match as favourites due to their good league form, however Seahaven will go into the game with two successive wins under their belts and must not be underestimated.
Bexhill Utd (from): Helen Smith, Sam Thompson, Carrie Burke, Emily Taylor, Emily Woolett, Naomi Shorttle, Phillipa Dixon, Rachel Cherriman, Tina Lee, Vicki Lewis, Anne-Marie Pier, Becca Chidwick, Beth Richardson, Chloe Frame, Di Mills, Laura Bolton, Rachael Bradford, Rebecca Collins, Steph Eatten, Tina Wilson, Fay Denyer, Jess Hammond, Lucy Knight.
Seahaven Harriers (from): Chloe Sharp, Naikita Hunt, Natalie Ring, Emma Bashford, Ellie Hawes, Sharnie Franks, Taylor Coade, Vicky Phillips, Fran O'Callaghan, Emma Hatt, Beth McKellar, Harriet McKellar, Kiri Canning, Georgia Ungoed, Paige Ripley.
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