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(Cambridge won 4-3 on penalties)>
Cambridge City 2 Bedford Ladies 2
(Cambridge won 4-3 on penalties)
The Eastern Region League Cup went the way of Premier Division champions Cambridge City, winners in a penalty shoot out over Bedford after a titanic 120 minute battle had ended 2-2.
City trailed by two goals after just five minutes but hauled themselves level by the three-quarter mark. There were close calls in extra time but the winners were ice cool from the spot, converting all four of the penalties needed to defeat the Bedfordshire County Cup winners.
Things could scarcely started better for Bedford, skipper Michelle Byrne putting them ahead with a clever overhead finish on three minutes, then Eden Kibron converting Mya Sidhu's pass two minutes later to put them two goals ahead.
Cambridge took a while to get into the game. Sarah Mosley had their first effort on goal, superbly saved by Bedford keeper Lauren Webb, reaching back to tip over at full stretch as the ball dipped.
City keeper Tee Mhunduru also made two fine saves to keep the deficit at two and Cambridge were given a lifeline when an Amy Reed free kick was turned in by Megan Tonks on 38 minutes.
Mhunduru was busy again early in the second half, saving from Carissa Kaczorowski. However it was Cambridge who levelled on 65 minutes, Hannah Bodily striking a perfect lofted shot from the right edge of the area beyond Webb from an Erin Davies pass.
The pace of the match never dropped as Cambridge pressed forward and Bedford always looked dangerous on the counter. Into extra time, both defences held firm and both keepers made good saves to keep the scores level.
Lauren Tomlinson nearly won the match for City in the final seconds but her shot rebounded to safety off an upright and the Cup would be won from the penalty spot.
Mhunduru produced a stunning save low to her left from the first Bedford spot kick and that advantage was capitalised upon by successful conversions from Mosley, Shannon Shaw, Tomlinson and Tonks. With a second missed penalty, Bedford were defeated after a superb effort over the 120 minutes against the outstanding team in the league who thus completed the League and Cup double.
Cambridge City: Tee Mhunduru, Lauren Tomlinson, Ceri Flye, Becca Fay, Robyn Phillips, Sarah Mosley, Amy Reed, Anna Goggin, Hannah Bodily, Erin Davies, Shannon Shaw. Subs: Freya Standing, Laura Mills, Carla Penny, Megan Tonks.
Bedford Ladies: Lauren Webb, Gemma Franklin, Priya Bhatti, Jodie Molloy, Sophie Mulvihill, Michelle Byrne, Jasmine Ajayi, Eden Kibron, Carissa Kaczorowski, Catalina Costas, Mya Sidhu. Subs: Amy Magnus, Lauren Murray, Sector Acolatse, Jessica Bunnage, Sian Beames.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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