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Woodley Utd Res 6 Wargrave Girls 0
A scintillating first half display by Laura Harris-Steers put Woodley United Reserves on their way to retaining the Berks & Bucks County Girls Under-18 Cup at Abingdon United FC on Sunday.
The Woodley winger scored twice and then set up Sarah Lawrence and Rosie Page-Smith to put United four up against Wargrave in the first 26 minutes. A 25-yard drive by Morgan Merryweather and a goal in injury time from Rosie Page-Smith rounded off a 6-0 win.
Woodley thus added the county cup to the Thames Valley League Division Two South title they had secured - with a 100% record - seven days before. Manager Marc Surtees and much of his squad can now boast a hat-trick of Berks & Bucks cups, having lifted the Under-16s trophy in 2012.
United already had two league wins over Wargrave under their belt, but still wanted an early goal to settle any cup final nerves and they got exactly that. Barely two minutes had been played when Lawrence played a perfectly weighted pass through Wargrave's high defensive line and Harris-Steers scampered from halfway to draw the keeper and score.
Woodley were soon threatening again, Lawrence and Page-Smith exchanged passes neatly but the Wargrave keeper came out to smother the threat at Lawrence's feet, whilst Ellen Surtees shot narrowly wide from a corner. But United did not have long to wait for the second goal, in the 16th minute Lawrence was again Harris-Steers' provider, slipping the ball inside the Wargrave left back for the winger to slam her shot high into the net.
Ten minutes later, Harris-Steers deftly kept the ball in play on the flank, skipped away from her full back yet again and crossed to the top of the area for Lawrence to shoot into the corner. Shortly after that, Page-Smith sent Harris-Steers away down the right, where she raced into the middle to meet a low cross and sidefooted home.
Woodley were home and hosed - and then hailed on! The bright sunshine in which the game had kicked off was replaced by rain, which turned to hail as the fourth goal went in from short range by Page-Smith and then it pelted down for several minutes. The weather, a string of substitutions and perhaps a sense of satiation slowed Woodley up and no more goals followed before half time, although Page-Smith and Gemma Bloor went close and Harris-Steers almost completed a hat-trick, shooting just over from the corner of the area.
Wargrave, meanwhile, had threatened little as the starting back four for Woodley - Ruth McKee, Sophie Farrell, Emma Davies and Bloor - were as tight as always, barring one early mix up between Farrell and goalkeeper Louise Fell.
The sun came out again for a second half that was much more even. Woodley dominated the early possession, with Jemma Garrett and Bonnie Messitt always causing trouble for the Wargrave defence, even if United lacked their early ruthlessness. But Wargrave looked a good deal tighter, and asked more questions of their own. They might have had a penalty kick when the ball hit Farrell's hand in the area, but the referee gave nothing, the ball did fall to a Wargrave player who blasted over from a good position. With 15 minutes left, they put together their best move of the match and created a fine chance but Fell saved well.
Four minutes later, United reasserted themselves with Merryweather's piledriver, the pick of their goals. They kept pressing for another, which arrived in added time. Page-Smith tried her luck from the edge of the area, the keeper saved low down only to see the ball squirm out of her grasp and over the line. That was hard on a keeper who had thwarted Woodley several times in the second half, but Woodley were worthy of a comfortable victory.
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