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AFC Bournemouth 1 Eastleigh 0
AFC Bournemouth triumphed at the end of a hard fought Hampshire County Women's League Invitation Cup Final against Eastleigh at Winchester City FC's Denplan Stadium.
A single first half goal from Kerry Shiers settled a gruelling encounter on a warm afternoon marked by frequent stoppages for injury, especially in a second half which lasted over an hour.
The two teams, second and third in Division One, cancelled each other out for much of the opening period played at an impressive tempo. Chloe Tape went very close in the 12th minute with a free kick from the edge of the area which was deflected against the post and away for a corner. Shiers broke clear on the right on 24 minutes and finished confidently past advancing keeper Lauren Medhurst for the opener.
Sam Hide had a good effort on the turn well held by Bournemouth keeper Kate Guthrie on the half hour but in general both defences did a good job to keep chances to a minimum. Eastleigh's Kim Whitcombe hit the top of the bar with an inswinging corner on 38 minutes and Bournemouth netted after a super counter attack but Rosie Eden's pass found Terri Harvey in an offside position five minutes before the pause.
Shiers went close to a second on 51 minutes but was denied by Medhurst. A worrying neck injury to Eastleigh's Amy Wakefield led to a fifteen minute break in play but thankfully the experienced midfielder was eventually able to be assisted from the field.
The game became increasingly open as Eastleigh pressed for an equaliser. Player of the match Guthrie made several good saves and Eastleigh's Paige Seeley shot over from a good position. At the other end Eden made a fine run into the area but drove a shot into the side netting.
Medhurst twice saved well to keep Eastleigh's hopes alive whilst Bournemouth's Charlie Callear made two fine tackles to stop Whitcombe in dangerous positions. One final interception by Zoe Ramshaw frustrated an Eastleigh attack and saw Bournemouth through to the hardest fought of victories.
Twice winners of the HCWL Junior Cup since their foundation in 2012, A F C Bournemouth have now added the Invitation Cup to their honours whilst the re-formed Eastleigh team, only in their debut season. have also performed admirably in all competitions.
Kate Guthrie, Chloe Longworth, Jess Marshallsay-Spiller, Zoe Ramshaw, Charlie Callear, Emma Davis, Sammie Humphries, Kerry Shiers, Chloe Tape, Rosie Eden, Terri Harvey. Subs: Helen Corbin, Beth Perdrisat, Sian Tilly, Nicole Greenwood.
Lauren Medhurst, Lauren Hill, Nicky Beeton, Kirsten Williams, Paige Seeley, Hollie Agombar, Leah Shave, Amy Wakefield, Kim Whitcombe, San Hide, Chelsea Owton. Subs: Emma Hoggett, Carys Thornton, Lauren Stone, Tash Conczak.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Amy Wakefield battles for the ball with Chloe Tape
(middle) Carys Thornton hooks the ball away from Terri Harvey
(bottom) Rosie Eden tries to get past a challenge from Carys Thornton
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