Lurshay puts it in reverse to drive Havant to success

Havant hero Steph Lurshay. Picture: Rob Atkins
Havant hero Steph Lurshay. Picture: Rob Atkins
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Steph Lurshay was the hero as Havant snatched a crucial victory in South Clubs’ Women’s League division one on Saturday.

The young striker struck the winner – four minutes from time – to see the Barncroft Way outfit defeat Guildford 2-1.

Lurshay’s instinctive reverse-stick strike sealed Havant’s first triumph of the season.

And with it she eased them four points clear of their Surrey hosts, who are propping up the table.

Drew Emery’s side had taken a well-deserved first-half lead at Broadwater School.

Determined to claim all three points in the relegation battle, they started well and put Guildford under pressure straight away.

But it wasn’t until the 20th minute that the Havant side got their noses in front from a short corner.

A clever one-two between skipper Kim Tyrell and Katie Pugh saw the former lift the ball into the net.

The captain led by example once again, putting in another assured performance in the centre of defence alongside Helen Moore.

And as the game went on it looked like Havant would keep a clean sheet, especially when they emerged unscathed from Lauren Thomas-Peter’s spell on the sidelines.

The full-back was shown a yellow card for failing to retreat at a free-hit but it was only when the visitors were back at full strength that they were rocked by Guildford.

Eight minutes from time a chipped effort from the top of the D found its way past keeper Marina Steel – who was called up from the club’s Haymakers in the absence of Mel Insall – and into the top corner.

Low on confidence after eight games without a win, Havant could have been forgiven for letting their heads drop.

However, they refused to give in and driven on by Amanda Hilsdon, Laura Hudson and Pugh in midfield, they conjured up a match-winner.

Sam Lister drove into the D from the left wing and when her shot broke to Lurshay eight yards from goal, she calmly flashed the ball home.

It was the University of Portsmouth student’s second goal of the campaign and it could not have come at a more crucial time.

The win lifted Havant four points clear of the relegation spot and closed the gap to third-bottom Reading to just three.

The Berkshire side crashed to a 3-1 defeat to East Grinstead on home turf.

The competition embarks on its festive break now, with the second half of the season starting in the new year.