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Hampshire won the English Schools F A Inter Counties Under-16 competition with a penalty shootout victory over Lancashire at Barnet.
An excellent match ended 3-3 after extra time and it was the South & West regional champions who triumphed 5-4 on penalties.
Northern champions Lancashire made the better start playing down the slope but were unable to find a clear opening, being restricted to long range efforts. Hampshire created their first chance on 26 minutes when Millie Farrow was foiled by keeper Jodie Mountain and Megan Fox shot over from the rebound. However, within a minute Jodie Brett had given Hampshire the lead from a fine 25-yard effort. Olivia Millington, Lorrie Doze and Kiera Walsh all had efforts on the Hampshire goal but the southerners went to the break with a one-goal lead.
Lancs turned the match on its head in two minutes as first Helen Seed from a corner, then Doze with a 25-yard rocket, gave the northern county the lead. Farrow earned Hants a penalty which Atlanta Primus converted on 68 minutes but Doze regained the lead for Lancashire when she blocked keeper Laura Medhurst's clearance for an easy finish with eight minutes left. Back came Hampshire with Farrow outpacing the entire defence and rounding the keeper for a thrilling solo effort with five minutes to go.
Extra time saw Lancashire go close several times, Walsh and Doze firing inches wide and Medhurst making good saves from Millington and Chloe Adams. Hampshire forced Mountain into a diving save in the final moments but the final whistle saw the teams locked at 3-3.
The penalty shootout was of similar high quality to the rest of the match. Medhurst made a fine save from the fifth Lancashire spot kick and it was left to Primus to hold her nerve and score emphatically to secure the cup.
Both teams were a credit to their schools and counties, contesting every ball fiercely and with impeccable sporting attitude. Doze and Walsh for Lancashire and Farrow and Laura Rafferty for Hampshire were outstanding in attack, but every player from both squads played their part in a memorable advert for schools football.
Hampshire: Laura Medhurst, Chloe Dark, Rowan Treagus, Jodie Brett, Lucy Caunt, Nicole Keen, Ellie Broomfield, Laura Rafferty, Millie Farrow, Megan Fox, Zoe Saunders. Subs: Alice Weaving, Emma Field, Atlanta Primus, Molly Dineen, Julia Moulton.
Lancashire: Jodie Mountain, Zara Musker, Olivia Millington, Emily Lupton, Hannah Godfrey, Helen Seed, Eve Manning, Kiera Walsh, Chloe Adams, Emily Hutton, Lorrie Doze. Subs: Chantelle Mellor, Grace Vella, Hannah Williamson, Eve Kennedy, Katie Brannigan.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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