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Tooting & Mitcham Utd Reserves won their first ever silverware in the Greater London League's Sue Sharples Memorial Trophy Final at Stockwood Park in Luton with a 1-0 win over Islington Borough.
It was as close a game as their respective league positions would have suggested - third against second in Division Four with two points separating the teams over the season. An eighteenth minute goal by Tawana Cushnie proved decisive as Borough came up just short in an exciting finish to their debut season.
Defences dominated the opening exchanges but Tooting created the better of what openings there were in the first half when playing with the stiff breeze at their backs. The prevailing conditions helped Cushnie when she took aim from fully 30 yards and sent in a right foot shot which went in off the keeper's outstretched fingertips.
Fellow striker Mel Anderson had another long range effort which flew narrowly wide on 36 minutes. Islington were not helped when lively striker Ayat El-Zein was forced to fill in as substitute goalkeeper due to injury, blunting their attacking potential, until she was restored to her original role in the final fifteen minutes.
Tooting & Mitcham keeper Ashleigh McGuigan was far busier in the second half, showing good handling from a powerful Georgia Copeland free kick on 65 minutes and sweeping up well behind her back four.
Islington brought on Cheyanne Bell on the left wing who proved a threat as they pushed forward in numbers. The closest they came was on 80 minutes when McGuigan scuffed a goal kick, but the snap shot return from the edge of the area drifted wide. Tooting were able to fashion chances, mainly through Anderson, on the break but Islington threatened an equaliser right to the final whistle.
A well contested opening match on Finals day saw Tooting & Mitcham Utd reserves captain Kerry Rogers lift the Sue Sharples Memorial Trophy following a very hard fought win.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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