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Fulham Deaf were seeking an amazing double Cup triumph at Bedfont on Sunday, playing morning and afternoon finals on the Greater London League finals day.
Their first opponents in the Russell Cup Final were Old Actonians Res who had completed a good season in Division Three South. Fulham achieved promotion from Division Four last week and will compete in the same division next season as their opposition.
Any thoughts that Fulham would try to conserve energy early on were thrown aside as they carved Actonians open repeatedly in the first twenty minutes. Camilla Willis broke clear in the second minute and beat goalkeeper Ellis Kerr to the ball but her cross was blocked. Kerr had to be quick from her line on two further occasions and dived to claim the ball at the feet of Willis.
Actonians settled into the match gradually and relieved the constant pressure on skipper Marian Kelly and defensive colleagues with a few tentative attacks of their own. Fulham captain Lydia Docker controlled her back four very effectively and keeper Natasha Ryan was largely untroubled.
After the break, Fulham again started well and were able to carve out chances regularly. Most fell to the pacey Willis, often played in by the strong midfield and, in particular, the skills of Ester Maycock who was prominent throughout. Again however, keeper Kerr was able to block or cover her angles to make the final strike difficult.
Actonians' brave resistance was finally broken with under twenty minutes to go. Another lofted pass evaded the last defender and this time Willis was clear in the centre of the goal and Kerr could not reach her before the striker coolly lobbed into the net from 15 yards.
Actonians tried to fight back with Nathalie Randall going close by firing a dipping free kick inches over the bar and and they pushed until the end of the game, However, an equaliser did not come and Fulham Deaf celebrated with their large band of followers before resting up for their second match just over three hours later!
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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