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Moneyfields 3 Abingdon Utd 2
Moneyfields completed a perfect record for their Southern Region League Division One campaign by beating nearest challengers Abingdon United by three goals to two after an excellent contest to lift the title.
United, already assured of promotion to the Premier Division along with their hosts, were still in with a chance of pipping the Moneys to the title with a two-goal victory but were always chasing the game after falling behind twice early on.
Abingdon started the match in commanding style, Molly Lygo having two early efforts on goal but Moneys scored with their first attack. A Kim Whitcombe free kick was only half cleared and Mel Lawrence nodded home the opener on five minutes.
Abingdon continued to threaten on both wings and when Kiera Isaac got free on the right a low cross found Amy Pipe on the far post for a close range finish on 11 minutes.
The leveller seemed to spark Moneyfields in action and Lawrence was set up twice with slick passing and first time crosses for difficult volleys at the far post which flew over.
The home side regained the lead from a superb Whitcombe free kick from close to 40 yards which flew beyond Sophie Kirby's reach on 20 minutes and then had a period of dominance around the half hour without creating too many openings as the visitors defended soundly.
United had a couple of half chances themselves before drawing level with a stunning piece of brilliance and persistence from Pipe. Despite going down in a challenge on the left edge of the area, she regained her feet, tricked her way past defenders along the goal line then fired past Sally-Ann Thompson from the tightest of angles on 43 minutes.
Whitcombe had an inswinging corner cleared off the line with the last action of a thrilling first 45 which left the teams deadlocked at two goals each.
Moneyfields struck early again on the restart via another Whitcombe free kick, this time guided home at the far post by skipper Katie Shorter on 48 minutes. The home side seemed to step up the pace in the second half and, hard though Abingdon tried, they were unable to offer the same threat as before.
With a strong central defence reinforced by sub Sophie Kingsley-Smith and Sheree Bell-Jack offering a good outlet in attack, Moneyfields created the better chances as the match entered the final third.
Abingdon keeper Kirby distinguished herself with fine saves from Bell-Jack and Shorter. Abingdon had a free kick in a good position late on but were unable to test Thompson. Both sides kept the pace high despite the heat but it was Moneyfields who were celebrating at the final whistle after a fine contest.
Abingdon United showed their good sporting attitude in waiting for the Moneys' celebrations to finish and forming a guard of honour to applaud their opponents off the field.
Both teams will be strong additions to the Southern Region Premier Division and the newly crowned champions will go for a League and Cup double on Southern Region finals day at AFC Totton on May 19th.
Sally-Ann Thompson, Sharna Capel-Watson, Alison Goater, Kerri Why, Olivia Pinhorne, Kira Vallely, Katie Shorter, Kim Stenning, Sheree Bell-Jack, Mel Lawrence, Kim Whitcombe. Subs not used: Grace Laidlaw, Abbie Robertson, Sophie Kingsley-Smith, Ciara Boylan, Paige Seeley.
Sophie Kirby, Kelly Talbot, Beth Hawtin, Nell Boxall, Charlie Deeley, Amy Chivers, Heather Young, Abbie Smith, Kiera Isaac, Amy Pipe, Molly Lygo. Subs not used: Sarah Harrison, Jane Younger, Sadie Timbs, Katie Totton.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Beth Hawtin clears away from Mel Lawrence
(middle) Alison Goater wins a header against Kiera Isaac
(bottom) Celebration time for Moneyfields!
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