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Chesham United 1 Billericay Town 0
Chesham United took their place in the FAWNL Cup last eight with a hard fought 1-0 home win over Billericay Town.
A first half Gemma Fraser goal was decisive but the Division One South West hosts had to withstand a great deal of pressure from the Division One South East high flyers before celebrating a fine victory. In fact, Chesham had several chances with excellent counter attacking play to extend their lead but were foiled by fine goalkeeping by Alex Baker, keeping the outcome in doubt right to the end.
Billericay started in fine style, moving the ball fluently and pinning the hosts in their own half for much of the opening 15 minutes. Chesham keeper Lucia Delves made a fine early save, leaping to turn away a Lindsey Morgan shot destined for the top corner on three minutes and, from the resulting Zoe Rushen corner, Hannah Smith headed over from close range.
The first sign of things to come was Fraser racing clear on 17 minutes, played in by Becky Bloor, only to be denied by the advancing Baker. Otherwise, the action was mainly at the other end, Lucia Delves saving well from Esme Lancaster on 19 minutes and Smith going close with a far post header from another Rushen corner. A Lucy Jones free kick flew just wide on 32 minutes and Karissa Rodney was unable to convert a half chance from a cross on 39 minutes.
Chesham used the fast counter very effectively and on 41 minutes good work by Bloor and Kat Bowers released Fraser behind the Billericay defence and this time the finish was perfect.
Billericay started the second half with renewed urgency, Lucia Delves claiming a dangerous Rushen cross then rushing outside her area to clear from Billericay skipper Morgan.
The home team responded well to the continued threat, skipper Dawne Campbell marshalling her colleagues and defenders repeatedly getting in blocks and clearances to foil the Billericay attack.
As the visitors pressed, gaps appeared at the back. Bloor played in Bowers only for Baker to turn away her shot on 75 minutes. Sub Jaqui Hanson was denied by another Baker save in a one on one and the keeper made an even better stop to prevent Fraser from doubling the lead as the match went into added time.
Chesham then used all their experience to see out time with some comfort, claiming a precious and well fought victory against good opposition in an exciting match.
Chesham United: Lucia Delves, Dawne Campbell, Liv Harris, Paula Lambert, Stacie Blackburn, Kirsty Gladwin, Kat Bowers, Emma Delves, Gemma Fraser, Emma Bebbington, Becky Bloor. Subs: Aaliyah Charles, Eden Kibrom, Jaqui Hanson, Tash Smith. Nicole Spittle.
Billericay Town: Alex Baker, Laken Duchar-Clark, Esme Lancaster, Lucy Jones, Kerry Stimson, Courtney Lumley, Jay Blackie, Lindsey Morgan, Zoe Rushen, Hannah Smith, Karissa Rodney. Subs: Evie Anderson, Rebecca Dunning, Robyn Moodey, Gemma Crowe.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Becky Bloor tries to escape from Laken Duchar-Clark
(middle) Liv Harris takes on Billericay duo Courtney Lumley and Esme Lancaster
(bottom) Laken Duchar-Clark can only watch as Gemma Fraser scores the only goal of the game
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