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Coventry Utd 5 Enfield Town 1
Coventry United won the FAWPL Plate competition with victory over Enfield Town in the final at Hednesford Town F.C.
The final score of five goals to one hides a highly competitive encounter where both teams, each urged on by a sizeable group of supporters, gave their all for the cause. The North Londoners gave their higher ranked opponents plenty to think about, especially in an even first half. Coventry goals either side of the break took the match away from Enfield and a late Maz Gauntlett double put a harsh gloss on the final result.
Coventry got an early goal when Jade Brook was on hand to turn the ball home on the far post after an Alison Hall flick on. Enfield responded well, moving the ball creatively and exploiting the speed of Chloe Bassett down the right to good effect. Coventry nearly added a second when Christina Torkildsen got free on the right but Bethan Davies made a fine tip over in the 15th minute.
Enfield achieved what no other team had done in this competition when Lizzie Kent scored the equaliser on 22 minutes. Skipper Regan Coleman was brought down when bearing down on goal and Kerrie Marlborough's free kick from the right beat the Coventry defence and Kent was on hand to force the ball home.
Enfield pressed forward and Bassett won a corner. Coventry keeper Sue Wood managed to clear Marlborough's delivery for another corner under severe pressure, then Claire Ford was wide with a header from the second.
Coventry themselves were a danger from set pieces with Amber Hughes driving a half cleared corner just over the bar on 38 minutes. Right on the break a super Coventry build up freed Nikki Miles on the left and her low cross was turned home at close range by Libby Piggott to give the Southern Division team an interval lead.
Coleman had a half chance to equalise seconds after the restart but it was Coventry who increased their lead on 48 minutes when Torkildsen bundled a corner over the line. The match became somewhat disjointed for a while as a succession of injuries and robust tackling caused frequent stoppages. Enfield never gave up trying to create, Ayse Mustafa and Nuala McKevitt having fine matches in midfield, but Coventry found more and more space as their opponents pushed on.
Player of the match Torkildsen was especially effective at picking passes and crossing dangerously but it was Gauntlett who stole the show in the final ten minutes. Another lovely move saw Torkildsen release Hughes for a cross which Gauntlett backheeled instinctively into the net on 81 minutes.
The same player then hit an outrageous first time 30-yard lob for the Coventry fifth to complete the scoring. Both sets of players could be proud of their efforts but the honours went the way of a very good Coventry United team.
Coventry Utd: Susan Wood, Annabel Johnson, Nikki Miles, Natasha Lynch, Anna Wilcox, Jade Brook, Libby Piggott, Amber Hughes, Alison Hall, Marie Gauntlett, Cristina Torkildsen. Subs: Callan Barber, Ellena Rollason, Gina Burton, Sami Ryder, Charlotte McElroy.
Enfield Town: Bethan Davies, Holly Brandon, Cally Browne, Claire Ford, Kerrie Marlborough, Nuala McKevitt, Elizabeth Kent, Chloe Bassett, Ayse Mustafa, Victoria Lewis, Regan Coleman. Subs: Beth Demery, Sheryce Slater, Laura Elias, Alena Beganovic, Eliza Diaz.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Cristina Torkildsen is closed down by Ayse Mustafa
(middle) Claire Ford clears away from Amber Hughes
(bottom) Celebration time for Coventry
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