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Clapham Utd Res 2 Hampton & Richmond Borough 1 (aet)
Clapham United Reserves lifted the Russell Cup with a 2-1 extra time victory over Hampton & Richmond Borough in a battle of the top two in Division Two South.
Clapham reversed the league standings in deservedly beating the champions and making up for the last gasp defeat they had suffered against University College London in the Capital Intermediate Cup Final last month.
Hampton & Richmond shaded the first half and led at the break but were pegged back and dominated by a highly motivated Clapham second half performance, Sophie Walker grabbing the equaliser and only fine goalkeeping from Emma Marlow prevented Clapham from sinning in regulation time. The pattern continued in extra time but eventually Clapham found the winner through a Katie Savelli run and lofted shot.
A large contingent of Beavers fans were cheered by a lively opening from Hampton & Richmond, taking the game to Clapham and forcing a fine save from Annalie Schutz from Louise Clarke's shot.
Walker was lively for Clapham and Julie Tournier clipped the bar with a free kick but Hampton & Richmond took the lead on 29 minutes with a neat finish by Katie Foster as she broke clear on the left. Sharna Longville nearly added a second on 40 minutes but Clapham had shown enough to suggest that a revival was possible.
Just as in the Capital final, Clapham stormed forward on the restart and created chances. Marlow saved high to her right from Savelli, then held a close range header from a corner. Amy Lake also had an effort well held by Marlow.
Longville forced Schutz into action at the other end but the main chances were Clapham's. Sophie Walker got clear on the right but saw her cross sliced wide by Filipa Pires.
On 70 minutes, Clapham were level, with Sophie Walker beating the defence to finish neatly past the advancing keeper.
Free kicks proved the most effective way of threatening a decider in normal time. Emily Hill headed wide a Tournier delivery whilst Foster forced a good defensive clearance from Alice Walker at the other end.
Sophie Walker could only find Marlow's hands with a half chance at the start of extra time and the Borough keeper handled another Tournier free kick well.
It was Savelli who found the key to winning the match, moving left to right before hitting a high shot from the edge of the area which drifted beyond Marlow early in the second period.
Despite their best efforts, Hampton & Richmond could not find an equaliser and Clapham United Reserves had won the Russell Cup. The league winners medals were presented to the runaway winners but there was no league and cup double for the Beavers.
Clapham Utd Res: Annalie Schutz, Alice Walker, Julie Tournier, Laura Whitnall, Emily Rohrer, Hayley Wheeler, Beth Towle, Laura Burns, Emily Hill, Katie Savelli, Sophie Walker. Subs: Filipa Pires, Sarah Douglas, Marta Coll, Amy Kingshott, Amy Lake.
Hampton & Richmond Borough: Emma Marlow, Kim Duffin, Becky Payne, Louise Harris, Hayley Lyon, Kerry Celino, Louise Clarke, Bianca Underhill, Katie Foster, Lisa Traynor, Allie Simmonds. Subs: Candice Hayward, Sharna Longville, Leah Ambridge.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Sophie Walker takes on Becky Payne
(middle) Lisa Traynor gets in a shot past Emily Hill
(bottom) Clapham celebrate with the trophy
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