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The third fixture in #FemaleFinalsDay generated an entertaining Essex Women’s Trophy finale as Bowers & Pitsea edged out Lawford, 3-2, at Aveley FC.
Two excellent goals from Bowers’ Holly Moore proved the catalyst for the win, either side of a Georgia Fraser strike, but Lawford twice halved the deficit through Tess Ryan and Daisy Canny to push Bowers all the way.
“It was always going to be challenging because we’ve played Lawford before and they’re not one to give up,” said Bowers boss Darren Fraser after the game. “I thought it was going to go to extra time! But we managed to hold them at bay. I think, being honest, it was a pretty even stevens game, with good goals at both ends.”
The first real opening went the way of Lawford as Canny progressed past Bowers’ goalkeeper Charlotte Stephens, but her shot hit the near post. At the other end, Bowers’ Sophie Dowman back-heeled wide from Eloise Ives’ low centre before they took the lead on 24 minutes when Moore sent a brilliant shot into the top left-hand corner.
Bowers then hit the woodwork themselves as Georgia Fraser rattled the crossbar from range, with Lawford ‘keeper Jamie Newstead getting a vital touch. But the lead was doubled on 34 minutes, Fraser racing through and rifling in.
Shortly after half time, Lawford’s Canny brought a fine save from Stephens before they did grab a goal back on 65 minutes thanks to Ryan’s long-range free kick which flew in. With five minutes remaining, Bowers restored their two-goal lead.
Moore shot another fine effort high into the net but, within two minutes, Lawford had pulled another back. The ball looped up in the air and Canny smashed it home at the far post. It set-up a grandstand finish, but Bowers held on to claim a success which boss Fraser says is just the start of things.
“We’ve got some good players in this year and hopefully we can build on it now,” he said. “With what we’ve got down at Bowers, we’re moving upwards on onwards. We’ve got some more new players to come in and got some more on the sidelines and some who weren’t registered in time for this game.”
“We’ve always got ambition. Right now we want to try win the league and then we can look at promotion into the Premier Division [of the Eastern Region Women’s League] and build again. We’ve got another ladies team coming next season, and possibly an Under 18s too.”
Bowers & Pitsea: Charlotte Stephens, Courtney Fraser, Danielle Styles, Georgia Fraser, Abbie Simmonds, Natalie Strange, Eloise Ives, Ebony Moore, Sophie Dowman, Taylor Adcock, Holly Moore. Substitutes (repeated): Taylor Parrish, Kerri Thomas, Alesi Harris, Keegan Russell, Emma Mackie.
Lawford Ladies: Jamie Newstead, Tess Ryan, Chloe Butler, Daisy Canny, Jodie Sharp, Megan Bamber, Hayley Chapman, Ella Boyden, Sheena Foley, Claire Brazier-Gauntlett, Susan Jackson. Substitutes (repeated): Michelle MacRae, Erin Hornby, Jade Heath, Stacey Teager, Harriet Young.
Referee: Reece Morley (Havering).
Assistant Referees: Benjamin Horne (Castle Point) and Emilia Dingwall (Southend-on-Sea).
Fourth Official: Ryan Fox (Castle Point).