|Newbury made the best of their home advantage in the League Plate Final held at Faraday Road. Starting strongly against Heelands Rangers, who had beaten Newbury 3 times this season in the league and Berks and Bucks Cup, Newbury were 2 up within the first 10 minutes. This was after Leanne Creese had struck the left hand post with a low hard shot that had the keeper well beaten. 4 minutes into the game Chelsea Starbuck received the ball wide on the right and after a strong run she crossed the ball. Initially it seemed that the cross was too deep but the ball curled and bounced away from the keeper who could only manage to deflect the ball to the feet of Kendall Gilmour who made no mistake with a simple tap in. Newbury continued to press and, this time on the left, Kelly Mosher dribbled into the area a few yards from the goal line somehow managing to retain possession despite several challenges including the keeper. The ball was finally forced home from a couple of yards close to the left hand post by Chloe Hunt.
Heelands gradually regained their composure and the game became more even but they rarely threatened the Newbury goal. The central midfield of Kerriane Benson, Leanne Creese, Caz Harkness and Kendall Gilmour were working exceptionally hard and were very often first to the ball. Chloe Hunt playing as a lone striker kept the Heelands defence fully occupied which allowed the two wide midfield players the opportunity to get behind the Heelands full backs. Having played Heelands 3 times this season Gemma Povey, Emma Theochari and Hannah Burgess in defence had prepared hard for the Heelands tactics of getting the ball over the top of the central defence and chasing the ball. They were only beaten once on a very dubious decision by the linesman which led to Heelands only goal, after 20 minutes, which the centre forward took well giving the advancing Sarah Jones in goal no chance.
The second half was tense. Heelands brought on an extra striker which was countered by Newbury switching to four at the back with Kelly Doe coming on as substitute and playing at right back. Lorna Parr came on to left of midfield and Kelly Mosher moved up front to play as the sole striker. Although Heelands were attacking the Newbury defence dealt well with the pressure and Newbury created the only scoring chances of the half. With 10 minutes to go Caz nearly repeated Kelly’s first half run on goal from the left but her shot was just scrambled clear at the left hand post for a corner. Newbury hung on to their lead to record this excellent win against a team who are 3rd placed in the league and next season as moving up a division into the Southern Region.
Next fixture Newbury play league leaders Reading Girls away at Theale on Sunday 2nd May. Kickoff 2 p.m.
|Players: Sarah Jones, Gemma Povey (capt), Hannah Burgess, Emma Theochari, Kerriann Benson (sub Kelly doe 55 mins), Chelsea Starbuck, Leanne Creese, Caz Harkness, Kendall Gilmour, Kelly Mosher, Chloe Hunt (sub Lorna Parr 55 mins)