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Basingstoke Town 1 (Beverley 58) Fleet Town 1 (Harfield 54)
Basingstoke won 5-4 on penalties
Basingstoke Town won the Southern Region League Chairman's Cup for the first time but were pushed all the way to penalties by Fleet Town, from the division below.
Substitute Emily Edwards slotted home the winning penalty after goalkeeper Lydia Overton had saved two Fleet kicks to finally settle the tightest of contests in warm conditions at Camberley.
The Premier Division side went into the match as hot favourites but Fleet defended stoutly during the first half. Lindsey Beverley did go close with a dipping shot from long range but she was denied by a fine save from Taylor Newcombe.
Basingstoke were finding it difficult to break a well organised Fleet offside trap but as half time approached, Tracy Jones did get through and made her way towards goal before her shot was saved by Newcombe.
After the break, Fleet grew in confidence as an attacking force and Katie Jones went close with a shot which was narrowly off target. Joanne Harfield then sent a header just wide from a Rebecca Niblett cross.
Fleet's enterprising start to the second half was rewarded within the opening ten minutes with a fine team goal. Jody Baxter exchanged passes with Kristina Wright before feeding Rae Roberts on the right. Roberts' cross picked out Harfield who gave Lydia Overton no chance with a firm header to open the scoring.
The response from Basingstoke was swift; within four minutes they were back on level terms. Beverley received the ball on the edge of the area and hit a shot on the turn which found the far corner of the net.
Beverley almost scored a second after being set up by Lianne Hill but this time her effort was just wide. Basingstoke continued to press and Hill was unlucky not to put her side in front after a corner was not cleared by the Fleet defence and her lob struck the bar.
Basingstoke were to go even closer when Hill seized on a clearance by Newcombe and lobbed goalwards but Teri Brown had done well to get back and head away.
Fleet managed to ride out the storm and, driven on by Baxter and Wright in midfield, pushed for a winner themselves. Josette Pearmine made a great clearing header under pressure from a Roberts centre and Harfield had a header saved from another good cross by Roberts and Jones drilled a shot over the bar. Wright cut in from the left before her shot dipped just over, meaning the game went into extra time.
Hill broke through on goal for Basingstoke during the opening minute of the extra period but her shot was saved by Newcombe. The remainder of the first half of extra time was evenly contested but neither side could force their way through at this stage, Fleet going closest from a dangerous far post cross by Harfield but Roberts was denied by good defending from Emily Edwards.
Shortly after the restart, Wright made a good run from midfield before finding Harfield whose shot was saved. Basingstoke then hit back with Jones springing the offside trap and racing through on goal but her effort hit the side netting.
At the other end, Roberts blazed an angled shot over from Catrin Anderson-Hayman's pass but the deadlock could not be broken and penalties were imminent.
Both teams scored their opening four penalties with well executed kicks but Fleet's fifth, by Brown, was saved by Overton. This meant that Katie Randell had the chance to win it for Basingstoke but Newcombe came to her side's rescue with a save. Overton then produced another stop from Roberts and this time, Edwards confidently found the top corner to finally separate the sides and spark Basingstoke celebrations.
Basingstoke Town: Lydia Overton, Ayala Truelove, Lianne Hill, Zoe Maylin, Lauren Butler, Josette Pearmine, Charlie Fry, Michelle Kimber, Katie Randell, Lindsey Beverley, Tracy Jones. Subs: Emily Edwards, Gemma Sharp, Kirsty Griffiths.
Fleet Town: Taylor Newcombe, Teri Brown, Amy Blackman, Kristina Wright, Lauren Kirk, Katie Jones, Lucy Jordan, Jody Baxter, Rae Roberts, Joanne Harfield, Rebecca Niblett. Subs: Gemma Goddard, Catrin Anderson-Hayman, Laura Hann, Suzanne Darling, Charlene Rooney.
(top) Joanne Harfield heads Fleet in front
(middle) Emily Edwards tries to hold off Rae Roberts
(bottom) Basingstoke Town with the trophy
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