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Brentford 5 AFC Phoenix 1
The Russell Cup Final pitted the champions elect of Divsion Two South, AFC Phoenix with Brentford WFC, still chasing a runners-up spot in Division Two North behind Enfield Town Reserves.
AFC Phoenix opened the scoring when a misdirected defensive header allowed Anna Badham to steer a shot in off the far post on nine minutes. Brentford were level within three minutes with Latoya Bailey finishing well past Eleanor McGregor. AFC Phoenix had two good chances to regain the lead with Samantha Dickinson shooting just wide then putting over a fine cross which Badham headed over.
Brentford striker Dana Johnson was just unable to finish under pressure from Elienne Steinner and Baliey was inches wide from the resulting corner. The Bees were foiled by a fine McGregor save from the lively Ashley Cheatley but the same player beat the offside trap to calmly give Brentford the lead on 36 minutes.
Phoenix were well in contention as Maria De Freitas and Badham were both close to a leveller before the break but Brentford had a golden chance right on the whistle. Cheatley set up Claire Richardson who rolled the ball wide from close range to end a thrilling half of end to end play.
Brentford took a much stronger grip on the match after the break and AFC Phoenix rarely threatened Caroline Brookes' goal again. Lisa Grant shot over when well placed and Bailey was wide from similar range for the Bees but Vicky James capped an impressive display with a 30-yard effort on the hour to make it 3-1, then Cheatley took advantage of a bad back pass to notch her second on 64 minutes..
Cheatley completed her hat-trick on 74 minutes with another calm finish as Brentford threatened to run riot. Only good goalkeeping from McGregor prevented further damage coming off her line to deny sub Chloe Phillips as Brentford finished in dominant fashion.
Brentford fully deserved their victory after an even opening and will now try to gain seven points from their four remaining fixtures to clinch the Division Two North runners-up spot.
Brentford: Caroline Brooks, Lisa Grant, Latoya Bailey, Lisa Beard, Ashley Cheatley, Judith Densu, Amber Luzar, Vicky James, Claire Richardson, Charlotte Tanner, Dana Johnson. Subs: Laura Huse, Chloe Phillips, Elizabeth O'Callaghan.
AFC Phoenix: Eleanor Messenger, Charlotte Lourenco, Claudia Richard, Jane Potter, Jessica Hand, Lucy Porter, Maria De Freitas, Rachel Soares, Samantha Dickinson, Elienne Steinner. Subs: Ana Da Silva, Anna Dungan, Precious Christopher, Siobhan Singlehurst.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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