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West Ham United clinched their second Essex County Cup with a 2-1 victory over a spirited Hutton side in an entertaining final at AFC Hornchurch.
"Hutton played really well and provided us with a very good test," said Hammers boss Julia Setford after the game. "They were huge underdogs and did extremely well - they should be proud of themselves. We are delighted with the victory and we are now looking to double-up the success with our ultimate aim of winning promotion to the top flight of the Women's Premier League. We have four games to go and will give it our best shot!"
West Ham did enjoy the better of the game, but Eastern Region Division One South outfit Hutton matched them for the majority, reducing the two-goal half time deficit after the interval. The Hammers took the lead on 14 minutes when Hutton goalkeeper Melanie Kinsalla misjudged Carly Roache's long range lob before Natalie Grafton doubled the advantage, stabbing home at the far post after Gemma Shepherd's shot had flashed across the face of goal.
Kinsalla more than made amends for her part in the first goal as she then went on to make a number of impressive stops, most notably from Shepherd and Tracey Duxbury as Hutton pulled off a terrific rearguard action to keep the Hammers at bay. Then they earned their reward on 63 minutes by pulling a goal back, Rachel Agombar's terrific 25-yard shot finding the top corner and sparking belief within her side.
Hutton couldn't find a leveller to complete their dream, but they can hold their heads high after taking one of the country's top sides all the way. Of their opponents, Setford said: "They worked us hard and closed us down at every opportunity, making it difficult for us. They have a few of our former players so would've known a little about us, but take nothing away from them. They clearly have a great set up and I'm sure they'll see players make real progress."
Hutton: Melanie Kinsalla, Emma Cansell, Kelly Roberts, Nina Witteridge (sub Lucy Hudson 46mins), Hannah Kinsella (sub Shelley Anglin 46mins), Leeanne Cox (sub Sarah Barnes 61mins), Rachel Agombar, Laura Allen, Nicole Farmer, Amy Simmons, Dannielle Cliffe. Subs not used: Toni Harvey, Chelsea Brett.
West Ham United: Toni-Anne Wayne, Danica Revell (sub Ruby Southgate 67mins), Tracey Duxbury (sub Vicky King 56mins), Jess Barling, Rosey Sullivan, Joanne Woodgates, Natalie Grafton, Stacey Little, Carly Roache, Gemma Shepherd, Nina Downham (sub Joanne Wosahlo 88mins). Sub not used: Emma Thomas.
(Report by Mark Wallis)
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