Chichester City Ladies skipper Lauren Cheshire has hailed the club’s togetherness for firing the side to county cup glory.
The Oaklands Park side sprang a surprise by defeating Brighton & Hove Albion development squad 1-0 in the final of the Sussex Challenge Cup.
For the Oaklands Park side the cup win is just rewards for an excellent season which has seen the club surge up the third tier of the women’s national standings.
Even with a poor run of form around Christmas which saw them lose pace with the leaders, with two matches of the National Southern Premier season remaining, Aaron Smith’s side are third.
But it is the victory in the cup which will long sit in the club’s memory, with the win coming against the 17 times winners of the trophy whose senior team play in the Women’s Super League.
Captain Lauren Cheshire said: “This is by far the best team I have played in and I love every single one of those girls. That was shown on the pitch.
“Everyone knows about our bad spell this season and that came from a lack of belief. It took for that dip for us to come together, especially over the last four or five weeks.
There was barely two minutes on the clock at Lancing’s Culver Road when Molly Clark spectacularly put Chi in front.
The club’s top scorer fired from 30-yards out to beat the young Seagulls goalkeeper, Laura Hartley.
Chances came and went for both sides as Albion, who were featuring a number of internationals, looked for the equaliser.
But Chi’s experience counted more and the club defended their lead well to ensure that they lifted the trophy for the second time in five years.
When asked what the win meant, Cheshire said: “It’s something that five or six years ago when I joined this club was so far away. We were never supposed to win it but we did.
“It was the same again this year. We were the underdogs. They are a good young team but we showed that we are still ready to compete.”
Next up for Chi is a home match in the league against second-bottom Queens Park Rangers on Sunday (2pm).
The game is the last game at Oaklands Park of the season.