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Torpoint Athletic completed a Jaipur Cornwall League and Cup double with a hard fought victory against their local Tamarside rivals Saltash Utd.
Torpoint had the better of the opening exchanges with Saltash goalkeeper Dani Bradford excelling herself with two superb saves from Torpoint's Kirsty Lambert. Saltash had a good chance through Emma Pemberton but back came Torpoint and Lambert was denied again this time by a goalline clearance by Kirsty Down. Only desperate last ditch tackles by Mandi McCann and Lilly Gilman prevented Sam Drewery and Coral Smith respectively from opening the scoring. Torpoint were denied a goal by the luckless Lambert, when her lofted shot out wide flew well over the keeper and into the net but was ruled out by an assistant referee for interference.
Within five minutes of the restart, Helen Kingscott fired Torpoint ahead off a post. Saltash hit back almost immediately with Drewery letting fly from 35 yards but her shot came back off the bar. Saltash kept up the pressure and Emma Pemberton hooked in the equaliser from almost on the goal line. Torpoint regained the lead thanks to a Hayley Chamberlain 20-yard drive which flew into the corner of the net. Just as it looked as if it was all over, a lofted effort from Stacey Arthur was collected comfortably by goalkeeper Helen Rundle, only to let it slip over the line to send the game into extra time.
It didn't look good for the injury-ravaged Torpoint side, who lost Lambert through a foot injury, although they pressed hard for the next goal in the first period of extra time but were kept at bay by a determined Saltash defence. Saltash made a quick break and Coral Smith turned away thinking she had scored only for the ball to roll along the line after hitting a post. Back came Torpoint who ended the first period of extra time with a 3-2 lead when a Chamberlain free kick was passed to Kingscott who blasted the ball into the net from 30 yards. Tired legs were beginning to take its toll and with time running out, Rundle let a Smith shot go under her body to level the scores again. Torpoint were reduced to ten players when Laura Collins limped off with a leg injury and despite both sides best efforts, the dreaded penalty shootout arrived.
Both goalkeepers made a save each but had no chance with some superbly taken penalty kicks. That was until Martine Hill, who was later awarded player of the match, blasted her penalty kick high over the crossbar. It was left to substitute Catherine Down to calmly fire home the winning penalty to send the Torpoint players and supporters into raptures. A disappointing end to the match for Saltash but for Torpoint it was the culmination of a remarkable season, which saw them reach two finals - winning this one as well as taking the league title. Credit must be given to the management and staff of cup final hosts Sticker FC, who produced a superb surface for the occasion.
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