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A glorious first half hat-trick from first team striker Stephanie Eadon set the tone, as Newcastle United beat their reserve team 6-1 to lift the Northumberland FA County Cup.
Second half strikes from Jess Foster, Alice Teasdale, and an unfortunate own goal by reserves centre back Robyn Parker completed an emphatic score line. Reserve midfielder Sam Campion scored the goal of the game in reply with a 35-yard lob.
As you would expect, the first XI took the game to the reserves, with a series of corners in the opening few minutes of the game. The first real chance of the game came at the ten minute mark, after striker Steph Eadon was fouled on the edge of the area be Charlotte Wilson. Jess Havelock hit the free kick at goal, but her strike sailed just over the bar.
The reserves defence were struggling to deal with the pacey and powerful Steph Eadon, who bullied her way through on many occasion, but couldn't quite find the finish. At the other end Sam Campion tested first team 'keeper Laura Wareham with a long range strike, but the 'keeper made a comfortable save.
Alice Teasdale had a chance to give the first XI a lead on 19 minutes, after Campion headed away a corner; however, her shot went tamely wide. The centre half reserve pairing of Charlotte Wilson and Robyn Parker battled with Steph Eadon all half, but the striker kept finding herself with chances in front of goal.
The first goal came on 26 minutes after Jess Havelock was fouled on the edge of the box. Midfielder Charlotte Potts took the free kick and forced reserves 'keeper Abi Laidler to tip the ball on to the bar. Steph Eadon was the first too react to the rebound and slotted home to make it 1-0. The reserves appealed for offside, but the flag stayed down, and the goal counted.
The offside flag again caused controversy minutes later, after reserve wing back Steph Lorraine ran the length of the pitch with the ball, only to see the offside flag go up as she played in striker Steph Shaw. The reserve team bench appealed vigorously at the decision.
The first XI continued to pepper the reserve team goal in search of a second, with Teasdale and Havelock both taking aim from long range, but both missed the target. At the other end Shaw finally broke the offside trap and created a chance for striker partner Kayte Brooks, but the shot was blocked by the sturdy first team defence.
It was Steph Eadon again on 37 minutes causing the reserves problems. A fantastic through ball from Potts fell at the feet on Steph Eadon, who worked the ball past defender Lorraine and fired home to make it 2-0.
Eadon then completed her hat-trick on 42 minutes with another sublime finish. Left back Havelock played a brilliant ball down the left wing to an onrushing Eadon. She manoeuvred the ball onto her right foot and curled the ball past Laidler to make it 3-0.
There was still time in the half for Charlotte Potts to hit a 25-yard effort off the bar as the First XI looked to cement their lead.
The second half started as the first half ended, with the First XI dominating the game. It wasn't long until it was 4-0 after a sublime Potts cross landed at the feet of Jess Foster, who powered home from close range.
A lesser team may have crumpled, but the reserves are made of stealer stuff, and they pushed on immediately after the setback. Steph Shaw was a thorn in the first's side with her constant running and movement. She had the chance to make it 4-1 on 51 minutes, but she fired her shot wide from the right hand side of the penalty area.
Eadon was not happy with just three goals. After a superb one-teo with Teasdale she broke away from the reserve defence. With the goal at her mercy, however, she fired high over the bar. Two minutes later she tried her luck again, but this time her shot was blocked by Parker.
The reserves' goal came after first team 'keeper Laura Wareham went down with an ankle injury. After the clearing the ball, Wareham pulled up lame at the edge of her box. The ball found its way to the feet of Campion, who took aim and lobbed the 'keeper from 35 yards out, a fantastic strike.
The injury to the 'keeper forced her to withdraw, with centre back Sarah Eadon being forced between the sticks, as Steph Eadon filled in at centre back. The reserves battled and battled but could not add to their tally, and the extra fitness of the first team showed in the remaining 10 minutes.
Firstly, winger Jess Foster tried to curl one in from the angle, but her shot went narrowly wide of the post. Just five minutes later the fifth goal came, as Alice Teasdale ran through the reserve defence and beat Laidler at her near post with a tidy finish. There was still time for the firsts to get a sixth, as Havelock's left wing shot was tipped by 'keeper Laider into the path of Robyn Parker, who could do nothing but watch the ball roll into the net of her shins.
It was an emphatic result for the first XI, but the score line was flattering, as the reserve team gave it their all and caused the first many problems. In particular Steph Lorraine, Sam Campion and Steph Shaw looked sharp and were unlucky to be on the end of a five goal defeat.
Newcastle First XI captain Sarah Wilson said afterwards: "I think we played absolutely brilliant once again, it was just a great end to what has been an absolutely fantastic season. Couldn't ask for anymore, it's been brilliant.
"Especially from the reserves, it would have been tough for them coming out against the league champions, but we are on big squad and everyone deserves to be here.
"It got a bit competitive towards the end but, I suppose if you're fighting for a cup it doesn't matter, friendship gets put on hold for 90 minutes, you play to win, that's why we play, it doesn't matter who you play against."
Reserves captain Amy Perch added: "The girls are disappointed, I think we put in a good performance, but obviously we are disappointed. We are pleased for the lasses, we've all worked together and we are friends off the pitch, but disappointed with the result in the end.
"We might argue that one of them (goals) was offside, and an unlucky own goal from Robyn Parker, but I think that was just tired legs there, definitely not a five goal difference between the sides. We tried, we put everything into it at the end, you know, we are pleased with the performance, but the result is disappointing."
Hat-trick striker Steph Eadon said: "I'm ecstatic about scoring three goals, all in the first half, the team worked well together and it's a good performance overall.
"It's what it takes though (to win), it does get a little heated, tackles are going in, but that's the way it is played, you've just got to get on with it and play your game.
"(About playing out of position) It's a team sport and if you get asked to play out of position, you hold your head up high and you just do what you have to do for the team."
Newcastle Utd: Laura Wareham (sub Myriam Neameh 65mins), Courtney Lock, Sarah Wilson, Sarah Eadon, Jess Havelock, Charlotte Potts, Jess Foster, Steph Eadon, Megan Pyper, Alice Teasdale, Alice Stroyan.
Newcastle Utd Res: Abigail Laidler, Stephanie Lorraine, Kayleigh Appleton, Robyn Parker, Charlotte Wilson, Sam Campion, Leonie Kennedy (sub Hannah Marshall 45mins), Amy Perch, Steph Shaw, Kayte Brooks (sub Jasmine Petre 54mins), Jade Blackburn (sub Lauren Davison 76mins) Cara Moran.
(Report by Stuart Dick)
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