This time last year they didn't exist - now Hastings Women are champs!
They’ve done it – even if they did it the hard way.
Hastings United Women are champions of the Sussex Women’s and Girls’ League premier division – less than a year after they were formed.
They’re now awaiting FA approval to move up into London and south east division one for next season.
Ironically promotion is the prize the equivalent men’s team at the club have been denied by two truncated seasons.
The women had to beat Montpelier Villa on Sunday to make sure of the title – but defeat would have handed the silverware to the visitors. A draw would have taken it to Hastings’ final game this weekend. And at 3-1 down with ten minutes to go, it looked like a lost cause.
But this side, led by captain Rebecca Relf and overseen by interim head coach Andy Corrigan, don’t know when they’re beaten. They kept going – and thanks to a superb Georgia Tibble goal they won 4-3.
Hastings United CEO Billy Wood said: “What a rollercoaster day of emotions. Going 2-0 down it was vital we clawed one back before the break, however to then go 3-1 down with around 15 minutes on the clock it seemed like it really wasn’t our day.
“The one thing that has shown throughout this season is the buy-in culturally of this team – and even with all the odds stacked against them they fought and fought to get back in the game.
“At 3-3 with minutes left, your attention starts going to next week’s game, knowing a draw gives us the chance to claim the title away at Roffey. But the team had the momentum behind them – and what a finish to win it.
“I don’t think you will see many goals to clinch a trophy like that in whatever standard of football.
“I am so proud of the team and the backroom staff. We have collectively worked together and to think this time last year we didn’t even have a squad is remarkable.
“The challenge is now to go into the next league and prepare to challenge again.”
Hastings went 1-0 down on 15 minutes and a free-kick made it two, but a short corner routine ended with Rosie Muggeridge getting a crucial goal back just beofre the break.
After 58 minutes Blair Hamilton smashed a clearance off Lauren Sharp which trickled into make it 3-1.
With 81 minutes on the clock a handball in the box led to Molly Hill scoring from the spot – and four minutes later a bad challenge gave the Us another chance from the spot. Hill again stepped up, and made it 3-3.
One more twist was to come – and it was Tibble who provided it with a thunderbolt into the top corner to win the game – and the title.