A clinical performance from Kim Coster’s Essex Ladies side saw history made as they sealed a 7-0 win over Hertfordshire at the County Ground in Letchworth.
The comprehensive win was Essex’s first ever in the Southern Counties Cup and also the biggest victory recorded by the county. Essex led by five at the break through Courtney Clarke, Sophie Vale, Georgia Box, Yasmin Cowley and Charlotte Bryant before Miagh Downey added a sixth after the break. Cowley then rounded off the win with her second.
The away side were on the front foot early on as Clarke teed-up Box, who curled just wide prior to her team grabbing the lead with only 9 minutes played. Clarke fired a fine, low shot in off the foot of the right-hand post from the edge of the area. Downey then side-footed an effort just wide for the visitors and a first opportunity for the home side later saw Gemma Croucher’s grounded drive well held by Essex goalkeeper Grace Staunton.
An excellent 20-yard lob from Vale then doubled Essex’s lead on 20 minutes, with a near carbon copy making it three 15 minutes later, this time Box finding the net from range. Hertfordshire ‘keeper Yasmine Walford made a good save to keep out Downey’s daisy cutter but Cowley did add a fourth, latching onto a through ball and steering home a fine finish.
On the stroke of half time, Essex made it five. Vale’s corner was firmly nodded in by Bryant. Early second-half chances saw Essex’s Charlotte Twydell lob a curling, long-range strike onto the roof of the net before substitute ‘keeper Robyn Strauss pushed a low shot from Hertfordshire’s Nicola Hollick around the post.
Essex’s sixth arrived on 68 minutes when Lindsay Morgan’s effort was pushed out to Downey, who fired in from six yards. Vale then headed a Clarke cross inches wide of the near post ahead of the visitors completing the scoring ten minutes from time as Cowley angled a run on goal and slid a good finish along the floor and inside the far post.
Essex: Grace Staunton (Barking Abbey), Courtney Lumley (Billericay Town), Charlotte Bryant (Writtle), Lucy Jones (Writtle), Miagh Downey (Ipswich Town), Sophie Vale (Writtle), Lindsay Morgan (Billericay Town), Georgia Box (Billericay Town), Hayley Piggott (Billericay Town), Courtney Clarke (Writtle), Charlotte Twydell (Brentwood Town). Substitutes (repeated): Robyn Strauss (Billericay Town), Niamh Gamble (Writtle), Yasmin Cowley (Barking Abbey), Nicole Farmer (Billericay Town), Tilly Deacon (Barking Abbey).
Hertfordshire: Yasmine Walford (Garston), Dani Maloney (Stevenage), Katie Farrell (Chesham), Erin Davies (Royston Town), Becky Day (Royston Town), Amy Jack (Hitchin Belles), Charlotte Grogan (Colney Heath), Amy Josland (Stevenage), Gemma Croucher (Stevenage), Nicola Hollick (Colney Heath), Hayley Wood-Thompson (Stevenage). Substitutes (repeated): Donna McAvoy (Colney Heath), Gemma Darvill (Colney Heath), Jess McNamara (Hitchin Town), Shannon Page (Hitchin Belles).
Referee: Phil Draper.
Assistant Referees: Rebecca Fearns-Purdue and Lyn McGregor.