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C & K Basildon Reserves became the inaugural winners of the Essex FA Women's Trophy as they edged out Hutton Under 18s 2-1 in a compelling clash, with Bobbi Cubberley earning the distinction of scoring the first ever goal in the final.
The midfielder's effort was cancelled out by an Emily Jones penalty in stoppage time at Leslie Field and it was only after 71 minutes that Basildon made a decisive move when Lauren Knight fired them in front for a second time.
"It was nerve wracking," said C & K manager Barrie Knight after the match. "We made hard work of it but give Hutton credit; they played very, very well and gave us a really good game. We persevered and came through in the end, but I think it was lucky. We weren't at our best by a long way. It caps off a great season for us, but it was very tense all the way through."
Hutton could have taken the lead within the first 25 seconds when Elizabeth Newton drove through the midfield and saw her opportunist strike fumbled by goalkeeper Zoe Brown, who managed to recover quickly to gather at the second attempt.
C & K had an early chance of their own when Knight outpaced Emma Caskie to roll the ball across the face of Lisa Duck's goal in the fifth minute, and the 'keeper was called upon to make a smart save when Sacha Brinkley attempted to turn in Sabrina Campbell's right wing cross.
Duck did manage to clutch Cubberley's close-range prod after some neat one-touch football between strike partners Brinkley and Knight, although she was finally beaten in the 29th minute. Cubberley received Louise Balding's corner kick 15 yards from goal, and her powerful shot slipped through Duck's grasp to spark scenes of celebration.
C & K sought to build on that advantage, and Knight's chipped finish was ruled out for a push on Jess Gyles before a combination of Duck and defender Emma Newton diverted Brinkley's free kick away from goal. That stoic defending allowed Hutton to level in the second minute of stoppage time when Heather Hickman was upended just inside the penalty area. Jones stepped up to confidently stroke the spot kick past Brown and give the Under-18s a real opportunity.
"In the first half we should've been two or three up but we didn't take our chances and Hutton got that penalty, but they deserved to be where they were," reflected boss Knight. "You could see the girls were deflated. It's my job to get them in and get them back up. It didn't work today because we were nowhere near what we normally play like; we wouldn't be league champions if we played like that every week but you have to give Hutton their dues."
Hutton's hopes could have been hindered eleven minutes after half time when Brinkley's stab beat Duck, but the ball rolled agonisingly past the right-hand post and, instead, Basildon were indebted to Brown for her quick thinking as she advanced off the goal line to collect the ball at substitute Claudia Roy's feet.
That incident took on added significance when C & K re-established their lead from Vicky Foxwell's left wing pass. The through-ball caused confusion in the Hutton penalty area and Knight took advantage to round Duck and squeeze into the net from an acute angle.
Cubberley failed to touch home Jess Mills' right wing centre shortly afterwards, whilst at the other end Michelle Rose was inches away from netting an unwanted equaliser for Hutton when her header back to Brown bounced fractionally past the post with ten minutes remaining.
Knight summed up his thoughts at the conclusion: "I'm pleased for the girls that we got the win. I didn't realise we were the first, but any trophy you win, you have to beat top teams. It's a fantastic feeling."
C & K Basildon Res: Zoe Brown, Angela Mottram, Michelle Rose, Vicky Foxwell, Jess Mills, Louise Balding (sub Amy Simpson 60mins), Kirsty Knight, Sabrina Campbell, Bobbi Cubberley (sub Vicky Bass 86mins), Sacha Brinkley, Lauren Knight. Subs not used: Louise Durkin, Julie Eke.
Hutton Under-18s: Lisa Duck, Lauren Campbell, Emma Caskie, Emma Newton, Jess Gyles, Danielle Sarchet, Amy Grimmett, Lyndsay Gardner, Heather Hickman, Elizabeth Newton, Emily Jones (sub Claudia Roy 49mins). Subs not used: Lois Brown.
(Report by Robert Craven)
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