Albion Women cruised into the Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup Final following a 9-0 thumping of Bexhill United at Withdean.
A Kim Stenning hat-trick, braces for Lily Agg and Lucy Somes alongside a goal each for Cherelle Khassal and Kirsty Barton completed the rout, and served as a real confidence boost after defeats at Cardiff and Reading.
Stenning broke the deadlock in the tenth minute after taking advantage of a defensive mix-up to slot home her 20th goal of the season.
Albion then put United under a sustained spell of pressure, as Khassal hit the post from six yards, before then seeing her shot saved by keeper Trish Gower in a one-on-one situation.
Bexhill had a chance to score a shock equaliser when Kirstie Spice’s angled shot went narrowly over the bar but the Seagulls eventually doubled their advantage in the 30th minute, as Somes headed in Khassal’s cross at the far-post.
Albion then scored four goals in the final 15 minutes of the first-half, as Stenning scored her second from close-range, before Khassal slotted the ball past Gower to make it 4-0.
Charlotte Gurr then set up Agg to score Albion’s fifth goal, before striking again three minutes later to give Albion a 6-0 lead at the break.
Service was resumed in the second half when Somes scored her second of the match in the 53rd minute with a superb long-range effort; and Stenning completed her third hat-trick of the season after meeting Lauren Cheshire’s driving ball in the box.
With victory secured, manager Jay Lovett brought on Charlotte Owen for her first appearance of the season, alongside the return of Rebecca Thompson from injury and Kim Whitcombe, who made her season debut.
Whitcombe very nearly scored on her return to the side, but saw her header go narrowly wide of the target after meeting Cheshire’s cross.
Barton rounded off the win with a long-range strike in the 84th minute to set up a clash against Lewes in the final - a repeat of last year’s match which ended 3-1 to Albion.
Lovett was delighted with the result, giving some of the fringe players a chance to shine and is looking forward to another tasty encounter with Lewes in the final next month.
He told, “I was very impressed with the performance and loved the way we moved the ball around, creating so many chances.
“It was nice to give the girls who have sometimes been sitting on the bench a chance in the starting line-up. I thought Lucy Somes was absolutely outstanding and both full-backs, Charley Boswell and Lauren Cheshire played brilliantly.
“People look forward to Brighton v Lewes every year and it will add good spice to the final.”
Albion:*(4-3-3) Mangan (GK); Cheshire, Ryan (c), James, Boswell; Barton, Agg, Gurr; Khassal, Stenning, Somes. Sub not used: Parks.

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