Middlesex 5-3 Essex (Women)

Essex Finish Third in Southern Counties Women’s Cup

Middlesex 5-3 Essex, Wednesday 13th March 2024, Kick-Off 7:45pm, Rectory Park, Southern Counties Women’s Cup.

A clinical Middlesex side claimed the Southern Counties Women’s Cup title as Essex were left with a mountain to climb at Rectory Park, Northolt.

Leading 3-0 at the interval, despite the visitors starting the second half strongly, the home side led by five goal just twelve minutes beyond the interval. Essex fought back strongly, but they were eventually defeated 5-3 in long-serving boss Kim Coster’s final match in charge of the county side.

Middlesex grabbed the lead inside 2 minutes as Ashley Cheatley broke clear and chipped home a fine finish. But Essex responded with an opening of their own as Whitney Locke played in Laura Bunton, who sprinted forward and fired just wide of the post.

Essex goalkeeper Emily Mackler made an impressive stop to tip Courtney Ward-Chambers’ effort over the top, but the hosts did double their advantage on 12 minutes, Shakira Kafero Roberts tapping home from close range. It was then 3-0 on 16 minutes, as Essex were caught on the break and Cheatley capitalised to put Middlesex firmly in the ascendency.

Aimee Dunn rattled the crossbar for the hosts mid-way through the first half and, shortly before the break, Essex’s Millie Isherwood rifled a long-range effort against the right-hand post. Essex dominated much of the possession in the opening exchanges of the second half and Middlesex ‘keeper Nicole Melling had to be swift off her line to deny substitute Daisy Canny.

However, against the run of play, the home side capitalised on a slip at the back to make it 4-0 through Rebekah Higgins. Just two minutes later it was 5-0, with Cheatley completing her hat-trick thanks to a fine run and angled finish.

Undeterred, Essex continued to press. Canny brought a brilliant save from Melling before Lucy Jones’ cross picked out Canny again, who stabbed inches wide from a few yards. Essex then grabbed a goal back on 67 minutes. Canny had caused problems after her half time introduction, and she took the ball around ‘keeper Melling before coolly slotting home.

The visitors pulled a second back on 85 minutes when Bunton latched onto a loose ball and bundled home. Canny then added her second, and an Essex third, with a well-executed lob, and she came inches away from setting up a grandstand finish a minute into stoppage time when her angled shot was scrambled off the goal line.

However, time ran out for the visitors, who finished the campaign in third spot. After the match, Lucy Jones and Whitney Locke both received their caps for ten appearances.

Essex: Emily Mackler (Southminster United), Lucy Ogden (Billericay Town), Charlotte Collins-Blaize (Billericay Town), Jamie Newstead (Colchester United), Nicole Farmer (Bowers & Pitsea), Charlotte Bryant (Lawford), Whitney Locke (Bowers & Pitsea), Lindsey Morgan (Colchester United), Laura Bunton (Barking), Chloe Woolaway (Southend United CSC), Millie Isherwood (Bowers & Pitsea). Substitutes (repeated): Daisy Canny (Hutton), Lucy Jones (Billericay Town), Abigail Fry (Hutton), Cate Jackson (Lawford), Maya Lane (Billericay Town).

Middlesex: Nicole Melling (Queens Park Rangers), Emma Petrie (Queens Park Rangers), Daisy Baranowski (Denham United), Mara Bramwell (Actonians), Anya Kinanne (Ashford Town), Ashley Cheatley (Ashford Town), Lauren Cox (Denham United), Aimee Durn (Ashford Town), Shakira Kafero Roberts (Dulwich Hamlet), Alissa Down (Ashford Town), Courtney Ward-Chambers (Queens Park Rangers). Substitutes (repeated): Amani Salim (Queens Park Rangers), Mya Francis-Pownall (Queens Park Rangers), Amelia Halawi (Queens Park Rangers), Beckie Currivan (Denham United), Rebekah Higgins (Headstone Manor).

Referee: Gemma Day.

Assistant Referees: Sarah Day and Ahmad Rafique.

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