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Oxford Utd 4 (Roberts 35, May 48, Pickett 81, Allison 113)
Andover New Street 3 (Clark 49,59, Bell 90)
Lauren Allison headed an extra time winner as Oxford Utd narrowly got the better of Andover New Street in a seven-goal thriller Southern Region League Cup Final at Hartley Wintney.
The youthful Oxford side led for most of the match against their more experienced opponents but Andover pushed them all the way and twice came back from losing positions.
Oxford had the first attempt on goal, Lauren May's shot being blocked following good work by Jane Younger, but Andover began to press as they sought an early goal. Oxford defender Amy Chivers had a heart stopping moment as she miscued a header and the ball looped just over the bar for a corner, from which Alex Cottier headed narrowly wide.
Chantelle Clark twice fired chances over the bar and Krissy Wright was also just off target after a good run when cutting in from the left as Andover continued to create the better opportunities at this stage.
However on 35 minutes, Oxford took the lead against the run of play. Holly Pickett found space on the left and her cross picked out Ellie Roberts whose shot took a deflection and dipped over Stephanie Cole before finding the corner of the net.
Oxford could well have been two ahead moments later as May played a fine pass to release Allison on goal but she was denied by a good save from Cole.
Three minutes into the second half, Oxford doubled their advantage with a goal that owed much to the persistence of Allison. The striker chased down a seemingly lost cause to prevent the ball from going out of play and Sammy Howarth's clearance went as far as May who produced an exquisite 25-yard lob over a helpless Cole.
Oxford celebrations lasted barely a minute as Andover came up with the perfect response. Jess Frampton's long pass was latched onto by Clark who clipped the ball over the oncoming Ellen Hopkins to bring her side back into the game.
Roberts saw a shot deflected over after holding off the attentions of Jodie Prince, Gina Ianniello heading just wide from the resulting corner. Andover had the momentum now though and they were back on level terms just before the hour, Ianniello's headed clearance rebounding off Frampton and Clark showed her predatory instincts by latching onto the loose ball and beating Hopkins with a composed finish.
Clark was through on goal again four minutes later but this time Hopkins pulled off a good save, with Ianniello doing well to block the rebound. Oxford defended well under the increasing pressure with Chivers and Fran Woolfe having solid games in the centre along with the impressive Nell Boxall at left back. However it took another good save from Hopkins to keep them on level terms, this time denying Clark with an outstretched foot as she threatened to score.
Oxford began to rally with Allison drilling a shot over from 25 yards following good work by Lucy Paley and Roberts. Shortly afterwards they got themselves back in front as Steph Mobbs, fresh on as a substitute, drove a low shot which Cole got a hand to and Pickett, despite losing her footing, managed to steer the loose ball into the empty net.
Mobbs broke through on goal but was unlucky in that the ball bobbled as she took her shot and Cole comfortably saved. Pickett then drove an inviting cross which eluded both Allison and Mobbs as Oxford sought a killer goal.
The game went into injury time and Andover came up with a lifeline. Wright clipped a cross into the area where Bell guided a neat looping header over Hopkins and into the net to level the scores once again. Oxford could have snatched the game with the last kick of normal time though, Allison found Roberts in the area where her shot struck the post.
The pace of the game slowed dramatically during extra time with both sides looking tired but the chances were falling Oxford's way. Mobbs brought out a save from Cole after cutting in from the right and Pickett curled a right foot shot inches wide of the far post.
With seven minutes of extra time remaining, Oxford came up with a decisive blow. Roberts' corner from the right was met at the near post by Allison whose firm downward header beat both Cole and Emma Small on the post.
The tireless Roberts almost increased the lead when she shot over following more good work by Allison. Andover threw players forward in an attempt to salvage the game but this time the Oxford defence, superbly marshalled by the excellent Chivers, stood firm to close the game out.
Oxford Utd: Ellen Hopkins, Gina Ianniello (sub Harriet Dearlove 90mins), Nell Boxall, Amy Chivers, Fran Woolfe, Lucy Paley, Jane Younger (sub Steph Mobbs 78mins), Lauren May, Lauren Allison, Ellie Roberts, Holly Pickett. Subs not used: Nina Merritt, Emily Moore, Stacey Coles.
Andover New Street: Stephanie Cole, Victoria Summerfield (sub Laura Gilbank 84mins), Sammy Howarth, Emma Small, Jodie Prince, Krissy Wright, Alex Cottier, Catherine Browning (sub Kellie Warren 55mins), Jess Frampton, Kirsty Bell, Chantelle Clark. Subs not used: Charlotte Hull, Sarah Kingswell.
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