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Double joy for Southampton Women
 Women's Football Regional Premier Souhthern News - 11 May 2017
 
Regional Premier Souhthern News - Double joy for Southampton Women - 11 May 2017 - Women's Football NewsSouthampton Women 4 Oxford City 2 (aet)
Southampton Women completed a Southern Region League and Cup double with an extra time victory over Oxford City in the League Cup Final at Thatcham Town FC.
 
In an excellent contest, Southampton were twice pegged back by their opponents before finding two decisive goals early in extra time. The losing team, so depleted by injury that they could only field eleven players, pushed the Champions all the way on a warm afternoon before conceding defeat to some clinical finishing. Even so, it took several outstanding saves from Southampton keeper Rachael Cash to keep the Oxford threat at bay.
 
Southampton's Kellie Warren struck the bar with a header from a corner but Oxford's Rachel Mariam was a constant threat, being denied by Cash from a tight angle on 21 minutes. Jane Yeates gave Southampton the lead on 27 minutes with a neat near post finish from a right wing cross but within seconds of the restart, Danielle Anderson had equalised, lobbing a through ball over Cash.
 
The Southampton keeper made an outstanding reaction save to deny Steph Mobbs on 37 minutes, Mariam firing the rebound wide, then a double save after a right side cross had beaten the defence, keeping Southampton level at the break.
 
The champions regained the lead soon after the restart when Yeates did superbly to reach a through ball then measure a deep cross from a tight angle for Laura Gilbank to volley home at the far post. Back came Oxford with Lindsay Pinker. later to be awarded player of the match, rising high to power home a header from a right side corner kick three minutes later.
 
Cash again came to Southampton's rescue, forcing Anderson wide when through on goal, then saving a low Anderson shot on 64 minutes. As the match reached the end of normal time, Southampton used repeat substitutions very effectively and started to create chances. Yeates lobbed a shot inches wide, then Oxford keeper Natalie Morris made a fine stop to deny sub Karleen Hellard. A final chance saw Gilbank send in a low cross which just evaded Yeates in front of goal and the match was destined for extra time.
 
Southampton struck twice in the first five minutes of extra half hour. First, Hellard converted a through pass with a low finish and then Sheree Bell-Jack lofted a fine shot over Morris from the left edge of the area to seemingly establish a decisive lead.
 
Oxford were not finished, however. Rosie McCabe, who had a fine match, produced a superb piece of trickery to evade three defenders and crashed a shot against the bar with Cash beaten on 104 minutes. Oxford, with great stamina and determination, continued to press for another comeback but Southampton, with skipper Kirsty Bell controlling the midfield and an increasingly calm defensive solidity were able to celebrate after a thrilling final showcasing the best of the Southern Region League.
 
Southampton Women:
 
Rachael Cash, Gemma Simmonds, Kate Wiseman, Sophie Solloway, Kellie Warren, Kirsty Whitton, Laura Gilbank, Kirsty Bell, Cassie Thorp, Jane Yeates, Sheree Bell-Jack. Subs: Sarah Bradshaw, Kim Betlem, Emma Pinner, Karleen Hellard.
 
Oxford City:
 
Natalie Morris, Steph Mobbs, Becci Bostock, Lindsay Pinker, Rosie McCabe, Rachel Mariam, Dara Austin, Laura Allsop, Nicole Miles, Emma Kidd, Danielle Anderson.
 
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
 
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
 
(top) Rachael Cash dives to save with Rachel Mariam about to pounce
(middle) Rosie McCabe fires in a shot which will hit the bar
(bottom) Celebration time for Southampton Women

 
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