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Barton Rovers 2 Alton 1
Barton Rovers lifted the Southern Region League Chairman's Cup with a 2-1 victory over Alton in the first match of Finals Day at Thatcham Town FC.
Two goals from Rachel Allwright sealed a victory for the Reading-based club after Alton had taken an early lead and, despite a spirited late rally from the Hampshire side, Barton defended their advantage very well to take the honours.
Barton went very close to an early lead with Vicky Carvill hitting a shot against the underside of the bar on 10 minutes but it was Alton who struck first five minutes later when Tiff Taylor rose high to head home a corner.
Barton created several good positions for an equaliser but Alton keeper Chelsea Fox dealt well with efforts from Amelia Sergent and Steph Nelson whilst Phoebe Cole fired wide when through on goal. Sophie Bulpitt had a free kick well saved by Barton keeper Natasha McManus on 34 minutes but Barton equalised three minutes later when player of the match Sergent latched onto a weak clearance and crossed for Allwright to convert from close range.
Barton struck the woodwork twice early in the second half, once via a fingertip save by Fox and then from a header but the second goal was not long delayed. Allwright was played in on the right of the area and shot low past Fox on 50 minutes to give Barton the lead.
Substitute Meg Lebburn gave Alton more threat in attack. having three efforts on goal in quick succession as the game reached the final quarter, Chloe Tucker fired in a dangerous free kick for Barton which was deflected for a corner and the woodwork was rattled again from another header, the fourth time Barton had struck the frame of the goal.
Chelsie Stewart sent in two dangerous corners for Alton which were scrambled away as the game moved into added time. Barton's Katy Cresswell then went on a long solo run ending with a shot just wide but the final whistle soon after allowed the Berkshire club to celebrate a narrow victory over their Division One rivals after a well contested encounter.
Natasha McManus, Rachel Allwright, Gemma Sims, Chloe Tucker, Vicky Carvill, Amelia Sergent, Noella Rodricks, Chloe Proctor, Gabrielle Stewart, Phoebe Cole, Steph Nelson. Subs: Katy Cresswell, Frankie Boekbinder, Megan Halfacree, Jade Scott, Carly Chilton.
Chelsea Fox, Afiya Johnson, Tiff Taylor, Sam Baker, Eshe Johnson, Charlotte Crook, Sophie Bulpitt, Chelsie Stewart, Karly Martin, Morgan Jones, Ruby Farr. Subs: Maddie Shuff, Georgia Haskett, Amy Parry, Meg Lebbern.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uK:
(top) Steph Nelson battles for the ball with Sophie Bulpitt
(bottom) Barton Rovers with the trophy
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