Beginning our review of a successful 2017 for Crawley Wasps LFC, a look back at January…
Little did they know it when Big Ben struck, but Crawley Wasps’ first team were beginning a year in which they would lose only one league game and win 17 of 23 matches in all competitions.
It started inauspiciously, with a frustrating 1-1 draw at Aylesford. Holly Turbill opened the scoring but the Kent side – who had lost 10-0 at Wasps earlier in the season – levelled shortly afterwards.
Paul Walker’s team remained top of the London & South East Premier Division despite that slip, although were second favourites to Leyton Orient, who had several games in hand.
Beating the O’s at the end of the month was a must but they hadn’t lost at home since October 2015. In the end, Wasps came away with a creditable draw, fighting back from 3-1 down late on thanks to goals from Turbill and Naomi Cole.
In between those two league games, Wasps also booked their place in another Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup final, by beating Chichester City’s Development Squad 5-0. Danielle Boyd, Nicholle Smith, Suzanne Davies, Rosanne Fine and Turbill all on target.
There was no doubting the club hero of January – reserve-team captain Zoe Martin, who scored on an emotional return to football, just months after husband Carl had been paralysed in a motorbike track day accident.
In their first game of 2017, Simon Pavey’s second string had been edged out 3-2 by leaders Parkwood Rangers – Faye Rabson scoring in the opening seconds and Toni Smith scoring a late penalty.
An own goal and a strike from Topaz Luxford got Mark Hills’ Under-16s off to a winning start, 2-0 against Newhaven. But they were edged out by Oakwood in atrocious weather at Ewhurst, before losing 5-0 to Ringmer in the semi-finals of the Sussex Cup.
The Under-15s historic campaign – playing in a boys’ league – continued with a 14-0 reverse to Withdean. They showed much improvement in a 3-0 defeat by Lindfield later that month.
Review of 2017
January – Sussex Cup semi win, Zoe’s brave return
February – Rabson makes mark, Laker repels Charlton
March – Another Cup final against WSL Brighton
April – Reserves on form, Under-15s end historic campaign
May – Orient end Cup dreams, Under-16s finish fourth
June/July – Sponsors sign up, new coaches appointed
August – First team open season with victories
September – Development and Under-11s begin well
October – Wasps hit nine twice in record start
November – Under-16s shine, first team set pace
December – Cup success for firsts and reserves