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Colchester United secured their third consecutive Essex County Cup Final appearance with an impressive 2-0 victory away to fellow Women's Premier League Southern Division side West Ham United.
With the tie having been postponed the previous two weekends, both sides entered the game short of match sharpness but it was Colchester who showed no ill effects from the lay off taking the game to their hosts and dominating the first half hour of play.
It was as early as the 10th minute that Colchester took the lead. Flo Gamby's flicked header running into the pass of Helen Bass who coolly lobbed her finish into the back of the Hammers' net. Just eight minutes later, after continued Colchester pressure, Bass doubled the lead, Maegan Doyle this time the provider her slide rule through ball giving Bass the opportunity to calmly slot past home keeper Sophie Bishop.
By half time the tie could have been over as Colchester posed all kinds of problems from both open play and set pieces. U's captain Hannah Porter was twice unfortunate not to add to the lead, first a well worked free kick ending in Porter heading an Alex Shepherd delivery against the crossbar and then just before the interval Porter headed home a Paige Chappell set piece only to be denied by the assistant referee's flag for offside.
In the second half West Ham came out with renewed purpose and enjoyed more possession than in the first period but a well organized and determined Colchester denied them any real clear cut opportunities with Porter and youngster Amelia Southgate particularly impressive in the heart of defence. U's keeper Nikita Runnacles was called upon only once to block a Nina Downham shot from close range. At the other end, Doyle and Bass always looked capable of adding to the lead while the youthful Colchester midfield quartet of Gamby, Hayley West, Lilly Mellors and Kat Parnell worked tirelessly to deny the home side time and space.
There was nothing in the way of nervous closing minutes for Colchester as they closed out a thoroughly professional performance to seal their place in the final where they will meet close neighbours Braintree Town of the Eastern Region League on April 8th, 7.45pm kick off at Great Wakering Rovers FC.
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