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Oxford City 3 Carterton 0
Oxford City retained the Oxfordshire FA Cup with a 3-0 victory over Carterton Town at Ardley United FC.
The Southern Region League Premier Division club made it a dozen Cup Final victories since the inception of the competition in 2000 but were pushed all the way by a spirited display from their Thames Valley League Division One opponents who created a number of good chances throughout a very competitive encounter.
Carterton, well organised and highly committed in defence, saw off the early threat of their higher ranked opponents. keeper Kirsty Fitzsimons making a good save to tip over a dangerous cross from the right and two early Lindsay Pinker corners being cleared effectively. Town then created a couple of half chances of their own but were hit when a sliced clearance set up Rachel Mariam for a run on goal and a good finish on 34 minutes.
Playing down the slope, Carterton reacted very well to this setback and pushed hard for an equaliser. Twice within a minute, low crosses from the right were met at the near post by Alex Barnes. The first effort flew just wide and the second from a fine ball by Rosie Cassin was well saved by keeper Nat Morris.
City found a crucial second goal close to the break to give themselves a cushion. Heather Young broke clear on the right and crashed a shot against the post from close range. The rebound was not dealt with and the ball returned to Young who finished well. Even then, Carterton's Barnes had a good chance to halve the deficit but, having cleverly robbed a defender, she fired a shot over the bar.
The match continued to be end-to-end and very entertaining though the second half was marred by unfortunate injuries which necessitated around ten minutes added time. The move of the match saw two first time passes which released Mariam for a powerful low shot well held by Fitzsimons on the hour but it was Carterton who had the better openings.
Charlene Woodward hit a 30-yard effort narrowly wide, then Georgia Rose fired a loose ball past keeper Morris on the edge of her area but Steph Mobbs was covering on the line to head clear on 65 minutes.
Kerry O'Connor had the next two Carterton chances, firing the first inches wide then being foiled by another Mobbs last ditch clearance with the keeper beaten on 79 minutes.
Finally, Oxford managed to gain some forward momentum with sub Jane Younger giving City some added pace and control. Mariam went close with a header from a corner but it was with virtually the final kick of the match that Young scored her second and Oxford City's third.
Carterton deserve every credit for their fine performance which created great chances and made light of the two division gap between the clubs but the goals went the way of the Cup holders who continued their fine run in the competition.
Oxford City: Nat Morris, Dara Austin, Marisa Chamberlain, Lindsay Pinker, Becci Bostock, Steph Mobbs, Heather Young, Laura Allsop, April England, Melissa Farrow, Rachel Mariam. Subs: Aliyah Anthony, Jane Younger.
Carterton: Kirsty Fitzsimons, Natasha Jones, Charlene Woodward, Lauren Smith, Kirsty Rolls, Lauren Cassin, Kirsty O'Connor, Melissa Cuthbert, Alex Barnes, Georgia Rose, Talane Smith. Subs: Stacey Oakey, Carina Hodson, Rebecca Wood, Kayleigh Murphy, Marijke Uittenbogaard.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) April England controls under pressure from Alex Barnes
(middle) Charlene Woodward slides in to challenge Melissa Farrow
(bottom) Oxford City with the cup
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