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Chelsea Mudge scored a hat-trick as Wyre Forest Phoenix went one better than last season by lifting the Worcestershire County Cup following a 3-2 extra time victory over Malvern Town in the Final at Pershore.
Last year, Phoenix reached the Final and were beaten 5-1 by Hereford Pegasus but gained revenge this time around, winning 3-1 in the semi finals. League meetings between the two teams this season had Malvern with the slight advantage as they won the first encounter and drew the second, however, Phoenix do not get beaten easily and were well up for this event. Putting in extra training sessions with a UEFA B coach gave them a little more edge to the game.
The game started well for Phoenix and it wasn't long before hat-trick hero Chelsea Mudge got her first of the game on 16 minutes after some great link up play with Heidi Mitchell allowed her into the box to lob the keeper. The many travelling fans were up of their seats!
However, five minutes later Phoenix were reduced to ten players for ten minutes while Kelly Preece was treated for a broken nose. When she came back on there was great support for her. Molly Maguire had a good chance to double the lead after a cross was fired across the box from Heidi Mitchell, but she just missed the opportunity.
On 40 minutes, Malvern levelled the game from a corner but in first half injury time, Mudge and Mitchell linked up again for Mudge to slot it under the oncoming keeper to give Phoenix the lead into the second half.
Phoenix made a change at half time and introduced Kirsty Roberts for Bex Meredith who was struggling after an earlier knock. Malvern were the better team in this half, forcing Phoenix to be defensive and they missed when they hit the bar, the ball bounced on the line and was cleared by Phoenix.
Chelsea Mudge came clear to getting her hat-trick after a through ball from Vicky Hyde gave her just the keeper to beat, but her shot skipped just wide of the upright. Five minutes later and Malvern again missed a chance when they latched onto a corner only to see the header go wide but their pressure paid off on 73 minutes when they managed to get a cross in from the right and volley low into the bottom left corner.
The game was forced to extra time and both teams were now feeling tired. The game was sealed by Chelsea Mudge with another lob over the keeper for her third goal.
"It was an excellent victory and a well fought contest by both teams," said Phoenix manager Paul Lacey. "Many thanks to all the travelling supporters who cheered them on."
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