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Three goals in a four-minute spell gave Ilminster Town a
3-1 victory over Bridgwater Town in the inaugural Somerset Junior Cup Final at Shepton Mallet and the first leg of a potential trophy treble.
Ilminster require a point from their final Somerset County Women's League match against Swiss Valley Rangers on Sunday in order to clinch the title and they also have a League Cup Final against Bradford Town in the near future.
Ilminster were without captain Alice Charlton due to illness, therefore defender Emma Jennings took over the captain's armband.
Jenny Frost almost battled her way through for Ilminster in the first half but found herself crowded out by Bridgwater defenders Emily Morris and Holly Cox who averted any danger. Colette Martin made a good run down the right after being released by Sarah Miller's pass and her angled shot was well held by Faye Edwards.
Prompted in midfield by veteran Mandy Gornicki-Bond, Bridgwater also looked dangerous going forwards and a fine piece of opportunism led to them taking a 32nd minute lead. There seemed no danger as Ilminster goalkeeper Abbi Bond came out to clear but her kick only found Gemma Baker who coolly steered her shot back into the net from fully 30 yards.
Ilminster attempted a quick response with the impressive Martin cutting in from the right, evading two challenges before her left foot shot brought out an excellent save from Edwards, who dived low to her right to turn the ball away.
Bridgwater got the ball in the net a second time after a corner had led to a goalmouth scramble. Baker bundled home from close range but her celebrations were cut short as the whistle had been blown for a foul.
Bridgwater had been forced into making a substitution just before half time with Ami Ward replacing Leighanne Ricketts on the right hand side and she was involved early in the second half. A fine ball from Baker released Ward down the right and she cut the ball back for Anneka Russ whose first time shot brought out a good save from Bond.
The game continued to flow from end to end and Bridgwater once again went close to a second goal as Ward, who was having a fine game on the right, set up Russ once again but this time Bond pulled off an even better save at point blank range to deny the striker.
This proved to be the turning point of the match and Bridgwater were not helped by an injury to goalscorer Baker. Ilminster picked up the pace and were unlucky not to equalise as Frost crashed a shot against the bar from 25 yards.
However a minute later, the scores were level as this time Frost made no mistake from the same range. After Ilminster had been awarded a free kick, the midfielder sent in a shot which dipped over Edwards and under the bar to put her team back on level terms.
Two minutes later and the game had been turned completely on its head. After being given another free kick from a similar range, Hayley Phillips drove the ball through a crowded area and past an unsighted Edwards to find the corner of the net.
Bridgwater were left reeling from the double setback and Ilminster took a firm grip on the game moments later as a long free kick played forward by Jennings was latched onto by Martin and she sped into the area before finishing clinically for the third goal.
Despite their best efforts, there was no coming back for Bridgwater and Ilminster could soon celebrate the first of a potential haul of three trophies.
Ilminster Town: Abbi Bond, Kath Parsons, Dana Andrews, Poppy Hookings, Emma Jennings, Hayley Phillips, Ro Gowen, Jenny Frost, Sarah Miller, Colette Martin, Emma Male. Subs: Lauren George, Shell Carvell.
Bridgwater Town: Faye Edwards, Holly Cox, Emma Williams, Leighanne Ricketts (sub Ami Ward 44mins), Emily Morris, Megan Warren (sub Alice Haggett 82mins), Mandy Gornicki-Bond, Hannah Brown, Annmarie Moule, Gemma Baker (sub Sophie Harris 72mins), Anneka Russ. Subs not used: Corinne Gillard, Kat Parsley.
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