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St Nicholas triumph on penalties
 Women's Football News 2 Apr 2014
 
St Nicholas triumph on penalties - 2 Apr 2014 - Women's Football News

 
St Nicholas Reserves became the first winners of the new Gloucestershire FA Women's Cup after getting the better of Cheltenham Town Development in a closely contested Final at Oaklands Park. 
 
After neither side could find a breakthrough, it was St Nicholas who repeated their penalty shootout victory over Abbeymead Rovers in the semi finals with impressive winger Libby Bell confidently drilling home the winning kick.
 
It was St Nicholas who settled down the quicker of the two teams and they produced the first opportunity when Libby Bell broke down the right and crossed for Lara Ferris to volley a first time effort over the bar.
 
Bell produced another good cross shortly afterwards and after Abigail Pearce let the ball run across goal, Georgia Bush stole in for a shot which flew straight at Alexis Lunn-Gadd.
 
Cheltenham were passing the ball around tidily but it was St Nicholas who were looking more threatening at this stage. Ferris tried a lob which was off target and then Bell tried her luck from distance with a shot which was clawed away by Lunn-Gadd.
 
Layla Hiorns had a shot saved at the other end but Cheltenham were having trouble coping with the pace and crossing ability of Bell down the right. However they could not find a way through as Cheltenham's well organised defence stayed firm and Lunn-Gadd's handling was faultless, including one excellent catch under pressure from Poppy Coles.
 
Coles almost got in again but was denied by a challenge from Joanne Lenton and Lunn-Gadd had to make a smart smothering save as Coles broke through from Kylie Dursley's pass.
 
There was a controversial moment on the stroke of half time as St Nicholas had very strong shouts for a penalty when Lindsay Garner appeared to handle in the area, however the referee turned down their appeals.
 
As the second half got underway, Cheltenham produced their best effort so far within a minute of the restart. Sarah Harrison's cross from the right was half cleared by the St Nicholas defence as far as Joanne Lenton whose shot from the edge of the area was saved.
 
Both teams worked hard to try and break the other side down but both defences were in excellent form and chances started to become a premium.
 
The breakthrough almost came through a well struck shot from Hiorns but Lauren White pulled off a great save, diving to her right to palm away at full stretch.
 
Cheltenham were getting stronger as the game wore on and they began to press hard for a goal. Pearce met a Natalie Potter corner with a volley but a deflection took the sting out of the shot and White was able to gather comfortably and the keeper also needed to hold a shot from distance by Potter.
 
One minute into injury time, St Nicholas had a great chance to win the match from open play. Following good persistence down the right, Bell found space to drive in a glorious far post cross to an unmarked Kylie Dursley who headed wide with only Lunn-Gadd to beat.
 
This meant that the game went to penalties and both sides started well, scoring with their first attempts. However Lenton and Potter both struck the woodwork for Cheltenham and after Harrison's kick was saved by White, this allowed Bell to step up and find the corner of the net to secure victory for her side. 
 
St Nicholas Res: Lauren White, Libby Bell, Sammi Hollis, Beth Reeves, Tash Galpin, Louise Chapman, Georgia Bush, Chelsea Pearce, Becky Weaver, Poppy Coles, Lara Ferris. Subs: Kylie Dursley, Amy Lediard, Silvia Rodrigues.

Cheltenham Town Development: Alexis Lunn-Gadd, Abigail Pearce, Elizabeth Buckel, Joanne Lenton, Lindsay Garner, Natalie Potter, Sarah Harrison, Kayla Garland, Layla Hiorns, Kate Brisland, Sylwia Dermont. Subs: Jacqueline Haines, Hope Fawsitt, Lydia Green.


 
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