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Peterlee Town lifted the Durham County Cup following a hard fought 3-1 victory over Darlington RA in the Final at Norton & Stockton Ancients F.C.
However Peterlee's victory did come at a price as they lost full back Leanne Kemp with a broken arm, Simone Laverick through a badly cut shin and Jade Ridley, who lost three teeth and suffered a hairline fracture of the lower jaw following a clash of heads, although she bravely played on until the final whistle.
Darlington, second in the North East League Premier Division, started more confidently than their Northern Combination opponents but goalkeeper Claire Normandale was not troubled, due to the excellent defending of Rae Taylor and Sam Hill. Peterlee's strong and pacy game started to peg back Darlington, Claire Bridgette hitting the post with a confident shot. A Rae Taylor corner was not fully cleared and Jade Ridley shot hard in to the lower corner, sending Peterlee into the lead. Simone Laverick, a new member of the club this season, played well beyond her 16 years of age, running with pace and accurate crossing from the right wing. A free kick was delivered from Taylor to the back post and the resulting clearance dropped to Laverick who blasted it into the top corner to put Peterlee 2-0 ahead at half time.
Darlington came out the stronger team after the break, believing there was still a game to be won. A controversial decision seemed to turn the game, the referee awarding Darlington a goal when the shot seemed to go in the bottom corner but on closer inspection and following appeals from the Peterlee players, the ball was outside of the side netting and the 'goal' was disallowed.
The game flowed from end to end, but a quick break down Peterlee's right wing ended with a perfect cross to Vicky Mudd, who turned her marker and struck a powerful left foot shot to give Peterlee breathing space with a three-goal lead. The rain started to pour and both teams were very tired. By this time Peterlee had made three substitution and Darlington pulled a goal back with five minutes remaining, but Peterlee held on until the end.
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