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Chelsea Reserves won the Premier League Reserve Section League Cup with a comprehensive 5-1 victory over Leeds Carnegie in the Final at Staines Town FC, skipper Georgie Giddings lifting the Cup after Chelsea - beaten Finalists last season - had given a dynamic attacking display which their opponents could not match.
The weather played a part in the outcome as Leeds played most of the first half into a vicious gale and driving rain which seemed to prevent them getting any momentum. Chelsea started well, Katy Ling hitting the underside of the bar with a long range effort on 11 minutes and they continued to press forward. When a free kick was awarded for a disputed handball 30 yards out on 22 minutes, Sarah Kempson hit a superb drive which flew in.
Lively right winger Vicky Vickery struck the bar with a floated cross and Carnegie were unable to relieve the pressure for long with the elements against them. Ironically, just as it seemed that they had literally weathered the storm and the sun returned, they fell further behind right on half time. A poor clearance was picked up by Stevie Lamb and she fired a powerful shot which keeper Julianna Draycott could not hold and Kempson tapped in the loose ball.
Leeds stepped up their game in the early part of the second half and offered a far greater threat, it was their talented striker Carey Huegett who led the recovery. In the 55th minute she hit a glorious 25-yard free kick bound for the top corner only to be denied by a brilliant Emily Morphitis save. Two minutes later, Huegett reduced the arrears from the penalty spot and Leeds were back in the contest with Emily Scott, Sophie Walton and Katie Nutter supporting the goalscorer to exert the first real spell of pressure on the Blues defenders.
However, as the rainstorm returned, so Chelsea grabbed the vital goal on 63 minutes as Kempson powered down the left and lofted a cross to the far post where Vickery drove the ball home. A similar combination nearly did the trick again four minutes later and Vickery was later denied only by a superb tackle by substitute Sophie Craven.
Chelsea now really turned on the style with Vickery's replacement Nikki Brown prominent on the right. Becky Jane showed her class with a solo run across the penalty area and a precise finish on 88 minutes and the Blues added a final goal when Jo Morris tapped in a rebound from a shot against the post in the sixth minute of additional time to give an unkind gloss to a competitive match.
In truth, Chelsea played well throughout, being quicker to the ball, defending solidly and using the width of the pitch very effectively. Four bookings showed that the victors were highly committed to winning, but the very wet pitch had played a part in at least two of the cautions. Leeds Carnegie must be disappointed by the margin of defeat in front of a full coachload of their supporters who had made the 350-mile round trip but over 200 spectators had seen a good competitive final in difficult conditions.
Chelsea: Emily Morphitis, Emma Delves, Shelby Hills, Ruby Staplehurst (sub Faye Rabson 85mins), Georgie Giddings, Becky Jane, Stevie Lamb, Katy Ling (sub Kirsty Barton 89mins), Jo Morris, Vicky Vickery (sub Nikki Brown 75mins), Sarah Kempson. Sub not used: Lily Phillips.
Leeds Carnegie: Julianna Draycott, Rachel Daly, Louise Hunt (sub Sophie Craven 65mins), Bridie Fox, Hayley Sharp, Emma Coates, Katie Nutter (sub Aimee Morrison 65mins), Sammy Conroy, Sophie Walton, Emily Scott, Carey Huegett. Sub not used: Felicity Middleton.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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