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Women's Football News
After three Final defeats in the last four years, Forest Green Rovers lifted the Gloucestershire County Women's Cup for the first time in their history as a goal in each half earned them a 2-0 victory over a battling Cheltenham Town side in a game affected by strong winds at Oaklands Park.
Forest Green almost got off to a flying start as Alana Willson unleashed a powerful strike at goal which Alexis Lunn did well to pull off a point blank save at the expense of a corner. Cheltenham quickly produced their first opportunity, a corner which reached Rhona Donaldson just beyond the far post but her shot hit the side netting.
The combination of high swirling winds and a hard pitch was making things extremely difficult for both sets of players and a number of passes went astray in the awkward conditions. However midway through the first half, Forest Green opened the scoring with a strike worthy of a Cup Final. The move initially started from goalkeeper Greatbanks and, following good work by Leanne Buffery, Candy Hopson played a good crossfield pass into the path of Lisa Mansell who crashed an unstoppable 25-yard shot past Lunn and into the far corner of the net.
Charlotte King drilled a shot into the side netting from Charlotte Cooney's chipped pass as Forest Green quickly sought a second but leading up to half time, Cheltenham created their best chance so far. Charlie Griffin chased a long ball from Natalie Berry and made her way on goal but was denied by a good save from Greatbanks.
The conditions did not relent in the second half but the two teams were able to adapt to them a lot better. Forest Green produced an excellent passing move which culminated with Willson slotting the ball home but celebrations were cut short by an offside flag. King headed over from a free kick but Forest Green doubled their lead midway through the half. Hopson's ball into the area where Willson hooked a shot on the turn which went in off the post.
Cheltenham tried to hit back with Lorea Sarobe's long range free kick being held by Greatbanks but Forest Green continued to look sharp going forward and a clever back heel by King set up a chance for Mansell whose shot was saved by Lunn at the near post. Lunn made an even better save ten minutes from time as she pushed a firm Elli Bartlett header onto the bar from a Hopson corner.
Cheltenham did not give up and almost grabbed themselves a consolation as the game went into injury time. Griffin showed good pace to latch onto a long ball forward and produced a firm left foot shot from an angle which was turned over the bar by Greatbanks. This was virtually the last kick of the match and Forest Green were finally able to get their hands on the trophy.
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