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Women's Football News
Loughborough University won the BUCS Championship Final with a 4-0 win over University of Hertfordshire at Crystal Palace FC's Selhurst Park on Wednesday.
This knockout competition is held alongside the BUCS League structure and the top sides enter at the last sixteen stage. Loughborough have long been a leading light in university football but this was Herts' first final. Despite fielding a number of players with experience at the highest level, Herts were made to submit to a Loughborough team who worked outstandingly well as a unit and had the star player in hat-trick heroine Amber Hughes.
Loughborough made early inroads into the Herts defence with quick incisive passing. Laura Bird in the Herts goal was forced into two good saves, from skipper Aimee Perry and Laura Williams. However, Herts dominated the next twenty minutes and seemed the more likely to score. Danielle Carter was inches wide from distance as was Hannah Short.
Short then forced a fine diving save from Loughborough keeper Lauren Davey as did Carter. Jennifer Beattie fired a free kick just over and Lillie Billson was causing problems on the right of the attack
Having weathered the storm, Loughborough came back strongly, firstly through a couple of corners, then through a fine opening goal on 36 minutes. Hughes controlled a free kick and turned to hit a low shot across Bird from a tight angle. Beattie had a good chance to equalise right on the break, but placed a free header wide.
Herts needed a good start to the half and they forced Davey into making two good saves from a free kick and a dangerous corner right under the bar. But it was Hughes who was a constant threat on the break, shooting over after a good save from Bird, then powering past three challenges before poking the ball wide from six yards.
Billson and Cally Rowell went close for Herts but it was Hughes who doubled the advantage on 73 minutes with a cool finish. Sub Avila Bergin scored with her first touch, set up by a Hughes cross, to seal the outcome on 75 minutes and Hughes completed her triple with a finish from the tightest of angles at the second attempt.
Herts were denied even a consolation as Davey made an excellent block from Zara Waterfall and Carter had a goal ruled out for offside.
The final whistle saw the Loughborough team celebrate a convincing win with their enthusiastic band of supporters who had animated the event with non stop singing and chanting. Herts, with several players likely to be involved in the delayed FA Women's Cup Semi Final tomorrow, had worked hard and created chances but were beaten by an excellent team effort which kept their key players in check whilst Hughes gave a fine demonstration of forward play.
Loughborough University: Lauren Davey, Sabrina Blackwell, Charlotte Blythe, Jodie Allard, Francesca Sullivan, Emily Blake, Rebecca Anderson, Aimee Perry, Lauren Struszczak, Amber Hughes, Laura Williams. Subs: Amber Wildgust, Lauren Page, Avila Bergin, Rebecca Kemp, Laura Henning.
University of Hertfordshire: Laura Bird, Hannah Short, Zara Waterfall, Abbie Prosser, Victoria Williams, Kirsty Feasy, Lillie Billson, Cally Rowell, Jennifer Beattie, Danielle Carter, Rachel Carter. Subs: Cheyanne Bell, Mercedes Broomfield, Amy Josland, Gemma Darvill.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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