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Denham United 7 Gosport Borough 1
Denham United won a place in the main draw of the FA Women's Premier League Cup with a comprehensive victory over Gosport Borough at the Middlesex Stadium.
The winners of this Determining Round tie would take part in the Cup whilst the losers would join the Plate competition to be run during the FAWPL season. Three goals to one ahead at half time, the Division One South East hosts added a further four unanswered goals against their South West Division One opponents after the break.
Denham gave notice of their intentions in the first minute, having two dangerous efforts on goal, Alissa Down drawing a good save from Borough keeper Erin Atkinson. The visitors settled into the contest but were punished on 13 minutes when Elishia Allen was given room to lob Atkinson for the opener. Jess Lewry tested Lizzy Rose in the home goal who was also forced to save at Kayleigh Merrett's feet as Gosport threatened an equaliser.
However another lobbed shot, this time from Harriet Gilbert on 22 minutes, doubled the lead for Denham. The third soon arrived and was unfortunate for the visitors as Hannah Burrows had defended well to deny Allen and shepherd the ball back to the keeper, but Atkinson's clearance cannoned off Allen and rebounded into the net on 30 minutes.
Gosport had shown some attacking instincts of their own and pulled a goal back with a fine header by Rachel Wilson from a left wing cross on 38 minutes. In fact Denham's Lauren Cox had hit the upright with a very similar effort after good work by Gilbert a couple of minutes before but the goal gave Gosport some hope as they ended the half on the front foot.
Down soon ended any hopes of a Borough revival. Inches away from scoring in the opening minute of the second half, Down increased the advantage with two goals on 49 and 63 minutes, the second a very good finish running on to a through ball.
To their credit, Gosport kept trying to attack but were restricted to a free kick from Wilson just wide and a long range effort from Xian Blackman-Price. Denham had defended very well and always looked threatening despite often falling foul of the offside flag.
With the outcome decided, Denham brought on a trio of substitutes and two goals late on emphasised the home side's superiority on the day. Cox got a headed goal from a Down corner on 85 minutes and sub Vicki Elliott turned home the seventh on 89 minutes.
Gosport Borough were well beaten but have had an amazing journey up the women's football pyramid. The Hampshire club were only promoted from their County League in 2011-12 and moved through the Southern Regional League structure to debut in the FAWPL this season. Denham already have had a successful season at this level and showed the understanding and team play of a group of players who have largely come through the highly successful youth policy at the club.
Denham United: Lizzy Rose, Kim Pendred, Emma Spencer, Laura Holbrook, Harriet Gilbert, Eva Ramsey, Louise McCam, Jessica Nash, Lauren Cox, Alissa Down, Elishia Allen. Subs: Vicki Elliott, Sarah Payne, Natasha Stephens.
Gosport Borough: Erin Atkinson, Hannah Burrows, Jess Timbrell, Emma Pickering, Kayleigh Merrett, Rachel Wilson, Xian Blackman-Price, Lysette Russell, Becky Deacon, Jess Lewry, Georgie Hoban. Subs: Sam Jennings, Zoe Jessey.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Elisha Allen is closed down by Hannah Burrows
(middle) Xian Blackman-Price battles with Harriet Gilbert
(bottom) Eva Ramsey and Kayleigh Merrett in the thick of the action
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