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A confident Billericay Town Ladies were ruthless in their 4-0 win over C & K Basildon Ladies to claim their first ever BBC Essex Women’s Cup.
Billericay managed to halt FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division C & K in retaining the trophy for a fifth year running, witnessed by a record attendance at a final for the competition. After Town had a nervy start to the game, conceding an early chance, they grew in confidence. From there they never looked back, creating chances at will and ending up victorious.
Town Manager Kim Coster spoke after the game about the achievement, reacting: “I’m so proud we’ve won it and it’s been the one that’s eluded us. But the real winner has been the female game in what was a quality game of football. I’ve genuinely been told that people had grandchildren and nieces at the game and they now want to play football.
“Some have asked when they can get shirts with our players’ names on the back! We had a lot of supporters there and there were supporters from the men’s club who have never seen a women’s game before who have been converted. There were some Billericay Town FA Vase legends there and they were delighted to see us win it!”
Not only did Kim comment on the exposure Billericay have got from this result, but the women’s game as a whole: “It’s exposed the excellent female game in Essex and what the Essex FA do to promote the women’s game in the county is excellent!”
C & K started the better side and crafted a chance early on through Holly Turner. She cut inside well but was unable to trouble Town’s goalkeeper. The momentum shifted when Billericay were awarded a penalty which was confidently placed into the top right-hand corner by Danica Dougal.
In the 21st minute, C & K were handed a penalty of their own which, unfortunately, they couldn’t convert as Turner saw her kick from the spot sail over the bar. Mid-way through the first half, Town then had a golden opportunity to double their lead. Jay Blackie’s header from a corner cannoned back off the bar and the score remained 1-0.
The turning point came in the 36th minute when C & K Mollie DeBell was shown a straight red, leaving them with a tough task to overcome a one-goal deficit with a player down. It got worse for them as on the stroke of half time, Sam Pittuck running clean through on goal before taking the ball round the goalkeeper and slotting home, doubling Billericay’s lead.
Town looked to assert their dominance in the second half, creating chance after chance. The game was put out of sight for C & K when two goals in quick succession on the 61st and 62nd minute put the tie to bed. Initially some confusion in front of goal saw Esme Lancaster thunder the ball home, then this was followed by an exquisite lob from Zoe Rushen over the goalkeeper from 20 yards.
Dougal nearly notched her second, and Billericay’s fifth, when her effort came back off the post late on. Ultimately, Billericay gave an assured performance, with their rearguard very rarely getting threatened. They put a stop to C & K’s dominance of the trophy in recent years and brought the trophy back to Billericay for the first time.
Billericay Town: Alex Baker, Courtney Lumley, Danica Dougal, Esme Lancaster, Kerry Stimson, Laken Duchar-Clark, Lucy Jones, Jay Blackie, Lindsey Morgan, Zoe Rushen, Sam Pittuck. Substitutes: Karissa Rodney, Nicole Farmer, Karen Stephanou, Gemma Crowe, Sophie Vale.
C & K Basildon: Sarah Walker, Grace Gillard, Jessica Horn, Tilly Deacon, Alex Bailess, Mollie DeBell, Gemma Abela, Katie Whitehead, Sophie Rhodes, Holly Turner, Molly Bowness. Substitutes: Sophie Spencer-Webb, Jodie Osborne, Courtney Clarke, Madelyn Thomas, Danielle Stilltoe.
Referee: Richard Ramjane (Chelmsford).
Assistant Referees: Nicholas Hodges (Rochford) and Matthew Bacon (Basildon).
Fourth Official: Guy Pell Ilderton (Rochford).