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The showpiece cup final for the Southern Region League pitted the season's two outstanding teams against each other.
Shanklin have already clinched the League title with Aldershot Town as runners-up. This time, however, it was the Shots who took the honours with a hard fought 2-1 victory in their home town.
The match started with a flurry of chances, Shanklin's Susan Cullen lobbing just wide in the first minute, then the Islanders' keeper Gemma Woodford making an excellent save to deny Holly Gayler. From the corner, Woodford did well to block a close range Sian Houghton effort before the ball was scrambled away.
The contest then settled down and it was not until the 25th minute that a real chance occurred. Shanklin's Nicola Briggs had an amazing instinctive 30-yard effort from wide on the touchline which flew over Shots keeper Callie Messingham before bouncing twice and being headed off the line.
Amy Hubbort cleverly released Nikki Moore to set up the Shots' opener on 32 minutes. Moore's cross found Emma North and she finished in the corner of the net from close range.
The Shots took this advantage into the break but were grateful for excellent defensive work from player of the match Houghton, Shawnee Henry, Lauren Carnell and Laura Funnell to deny the lively Shanklin attack. Sarah Wright went close with a header into the side netting as Shanklin pressed hard on the restart. Briggs was unlucky with a shot which hit a post and the Islanders had a strong penalty claim denied in the ensuing scramble on 55 minutes.
Aldershot were always dangerous from corners. Woodford made a good save from one then Moore's delivery allowed Lucy Thomson to double the advantage on 67 minutes. Previously, Messingham had made a fine save to tip over a long range Naomi Cooper free kick but Shanklin soon reduced the arrears when Wright's through ball beat the defence for Cullen to finish expertly on 72 minutes.
Despite battling well to the end with Rowan Treague prominent in all their best moments, Shanklin could not break down a very solid Aldershot back line. The final whistle allowed Aldershot to celebrate a Cup triumph and to receive their League runners-up medals whilst Shanklin took away their Cup runners-up awards and the League trophy which will see the Isle of Wight represented in the South West Combination for the first time.
Aldershot Town: Callie Messingham, Lauren Carnell Lucy Thomson, Sian Houghton, Emma North, Nikki Moore, Caroline Shepherd, Laura Funnell, Shawnee Henry, Amy Hubbort, Holly Gayler. Subs: Lauren Bird, Debbie Welford, Lauren Steers, Chloe Mackay, Lesley Hubbard.
Shanklin: Gemma Woodford, Naomi Cooper, Georgia Dye, Sarah Wright, Shannon Kilcullen, Kim Arnold, Chloe Parkes, Danielle Merryfield, Susan Cullen, Nicola Briggs, Rowan Treague. Subs: Emma Webb, Sammie Mumford, Kim Masterton.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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