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Chesham United completed a successful season by lifting the Chairman's Cup with a 4-1 victory over Team Solent in the first match of the Southern Region League's finals day at Scours Lane, Reading.
In a match which was more even than the result indicates, Chesham defended well and had the edge in finishing as the sides who had finished second and third in Division One went head to head.
Solent started well but the first effort on goal was a deflected 30-yard effort from Gemma Fraser which flew narrowly over Lauren Webb's bar. Solent were very unlucky not to open the scoring when, after good work from Emma Pinner and Tasha Kenny, Daryanne Ryan hit a volley which rebounded off the inside of the post straight to keeper Lucia Masella on 11 minutes.
Fraser again went close when free on the left edge of the area but hit the side netting on 17 minutes. Solent's Pinner had a run and shot well held by Masella as play flowed from end to end. Hannah McKenzie, who had a fine match for Solent, made a vital interception to foil Fraser but Chesham took the lead on 26 minutes when Katie Squire outpaced the defence, rounded Webb and finished coolly.
McKenzie set up the Solent equaliser on the half hour with a well aimed 40-yard pass to Philippa Holden who took the ball down and shot low past Masella. Holden was then denied a second by a good tackle from Chantelle O'Grady but it was Chesham who took the lead on 41 minutes with a superb goal. Squire ran down the right and centred perfectly for Fraser to guide a diving header wide of Webb.
Another headed goal, this time by Dawne Campbell up from defence to guide in Laura Barton's inviting free kick, increased Chesham's lead on 57 minutes, following a lengthy delay for an injury to Chesham keeper Masella immediately after the break.
Chesham were defending strongly and breaking effectively as the second half developed. Webb saved well from Fraser and sub Natasha Smith shot wide when clean through on goal on 73 minutes. Solent's Mel Saunders made a fine interception to stop Fraser and Smith hit a post with a header as Chesham looked to add to their lead.
Fittingly it was player of the match Fraser who rounded off the scoring on 88 minutes with her second running through to slot home, though there was a suspicion of offside.
Victoria Carleton with a free kick had a late effort for Solent well held by Masella but the Southampton based team had been well contained by Chesham back line despite good build up play and some threatening moments.
In addition to gaining promotion to the Premier Division of the Southern Region League, Chesham United were thus able to celebrate cup success after a fiercely contested and entertaining match to open finals day in front of enthusiastic support for both teams.
Chesham United: Lucia Masella, Anna Imrie, Livi Harris, Laura Barton, Sarah Tyas, Dawne Campbell, Paul Lambert, Kirsty Gladwin, Katie Squire, Gemma Fraser, Chantelle O'Grady. Subs: Charlotte Herson, Natasha Smith, Sarah Hazel.
Team Solent: Lauren Webb, Bobby Lynch, Daryanne Ryan, Ellie Hellyer, Courtney Downey, Victoria Carleton, Hannah McKenzie, Mel Saunders, Philippa Holden, Tasha Kenny, Emma Pinner. Subs: Emily Crook, Ayuma Asira, Basia Dudek.
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Gemma Fraser hurdles a challenge from Hannah McKenzie
(middle) Sarah Tyas blocks a cross from Tasha Kenny
(bottom) Chesham United with the Chairman's Cup
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