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Hemel Hempstead Town 6 Newbury Ladies & Girls 3
Hemel Hempstead Town moved into the Second Qualifying Round of the F.A.Women's Cup with a 6-3 victory over Newbury Ladies & Girls at Vauxhall Road.
In an encounter full of attacking intent from start to finish it was the Tudors Suzanne Read's four-goal haul which lifted the London & South East League Premier Division team clear of their Southern Region Division One opponents, who also gave a good account of themselves throughout.
Newbury started the better and had an early chance, Nicole Beasley scuffing a third minute effort wide before Hemel's Read and then Charlene Turturici tested visiting keeper Chloe Hunt. Read also forced a goal line clearance by visiting skipper Leanne Creese and Katie Jackson blasted the rebound wide as the home side sought the opener. Newbury responded with Creese going close from distance and Shelley Forster forcing a fine save from stand-in keeper Emma Manners.
Read scored in the 18th minute after her initial effort had been well saved by Hunt. Newbury were level within four minutes with a spectacular lofted 25-yard effort by Rachel Panting. Within three minutes, Bianca Hedgecock had restored the Tudors' lead with an equally good effort from distance. Read and Turturici went close to extending Hemel's advantage as the higher ranked team started to dominate.
Read scored the third on 35 minutes with another unstoppable effort into the top corner of Hunt's goal. Further chances followed for the home forwards but it was Lizzie Sargeant who nearly added a fourth right on the break, heading inches wide from a corner.
Newbury needed to regroup and came out powerfully on the restart, an Emma O'Leary header making it 3-2 from a perfect deep cross on 48 minutes. Both sides looked capable of scoring from almost every attack, Hedgecock having several efforts on goal for Hemel whilst Ellie Read was close to equalising for Newbury.
Hedgecock outpaced the Newbury defence to slot in the fourth but Read hit the bar for Newbury a minute later. Creese was causing difficulties for Hemel with good set piece delivery but her 67th minute goal was a more tame effort which Manners failed to deal with. Again Hemel threatened immediately and Hunt saved well but two clinical finishes from Read in two minutes took her individual tally to four and gave the home side a 6-3 cushion by the 71st minute.
Newbury were still constructing flowing passing moves and Hemel were grateful to Sargeant for an excellent block right on her own line to foil Panting on 78 minutes. Both sides hit the woodwork in the closing stages but Hemel had done enough to earn a Second Qualifying Round tie away to Maidenhead United.
In a game where both attacks dominated and chances came thick and fast, it was Hemel who had the more speedy and effective finishers supplied by the midfield play of Turturici and Kayleigh Baker. Newbury meanwhile played a more measured passing game and created a lot of promising positions. Both teams were a credit to their coaching staffs and leagues in a very entertaining match.
Hemel Hempstead Town: Emma Manners, Gemma Darvil, Lizzie Sargeant, Ella Baker, Katie Jackson, Nicole Morgan, Charlene Turturici, Kayleigh Baker, Suzanne Read, Stephanie Cripps, Bianca Hedgecock. Subs: Callie Walters, Nat Cole.
Newbury Ladies & Girls: Chloe Hunt, Sam Atkins, Sophie Self, Gemma Povey, Caz Harkins, Shelley Forster, Leanne Creese, Ellie Reed, Rachel Panting, Emma O'Leary, Nicole Beasley. Subs: Lorna Parr, Lauren Sheldon, Leanne Saunders.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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