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Enfield Town won the Ryman Women's Cup for the third year in a row but it took an added time strike to overcome a determined Eastbourne Town side.
Sheree Oliver opened the scoring for Enfield and Kelly Hunter levelled for Eastbourne after the break, only for Shelley Forster to win it two minutes into added time. Enfield Town manager John Abbott said: "It was a tough match with Eastbourne putting up a very strong performance and it looked to be heading for extra time but we dug in and are thrilled to have won the trophy again. It has been a disappointing league season but our cup form has been outstanding."
Enfield began the game without their recognised goalkeeper Jo Ayre with centre back Kerrie Marlborough taking the gloves and their top two scorers also absent but they started the game well and after just two minutes Sheree Oliver skipped past a challenge and made the corner before cutting back and crossing towards Katie Wilding who could only loop the ball from behind towards the goal where Sarah Walshaw collected it with ease. Cally Browne lost the ball to Karema Abdalla but the Eastbourne player shot weakly to Marlborough. Jacey Samson looked to have used a hand to control the ball but it went unseen by the officials and luckily the attack came to nothing as her cross to Janine Daly was fired straight to Marlborough.
Oliver again beat a defender out wide and cut in before crossing towards the far post, the ball rebounded off the post and with defenders hesitating Oliver retrieved the ball took it a few paces across the area and struck a shot between a defender and the keeper on the line to open the scoring.
Samson controlled a ball in the area and shot as she turned but Marlborough was confident enough to leave it to go wide of the post. Stavroulla Panayiotou drove in a low cross from the right and Walshaw did well to smother it as Semma Halil tried to turn it in. Samson hustled Claire Gooch as they both fought for the ball but after getting the better of the battle, Samson shot well wide of the target.
Eastbourne were trying to play the ball out of their defence but Wilding nipped in and stole it only to shoot well over the behind the goal. Abdalla jumped onto a mistake by Browne and drove forward before picking out Lucianne Johnson in the area but again the following shot was left to go wide by Marlborough. Halil headed a goal kick back on into the path of Panayiotou who went on and crossed but Walshaw redeemed herself by cutting it out. Beth Lovell helped the ball on over the Eastbourne defence but Walshaw was just quick enough to beat Halil to it.
Johnson hit a great cross from the right that had forwards queuing up for it but Browne managed to head it on and away from the danger.
Early in the second half, Oliver played the ball to Wilding and kept her run going as Wilding flicked it back into her path and only last ditch defending by a defender and the keeper prevented a shot on target but despite this, the officials decided it should be a goal kick. A long pass sent Samson racing into the area only for Marlborough to time her challenge to perfection and picked the ball off the forward's foot.
Enfield brought on Holly Brandon for her senior debut just a day after her 16th birthday and she was immediately into the game, making some intelligent paces and tackles.
Enfield appeared to have cleared the danger of an Eastbourne attack with just Marlborough and a forward left in the area. Kelly Hunter hit the ball high back into the area and with Marlborough covering the offside looking forward, the ball took a high bounce over both and dropped into the net despite Marlborough's best efforts to get back on the line and get a hand to it. It was the first goal Enfield have conceded in three years in the competition!
Eastbourne goalscorer Hunter had to leave the pitch soon after the goal after picking up a head injury in a challenge with an Enfield player. Oliver attacked the Eastbourne back line and a desperate challenge by a defender conceded a corner when it looked promising for Enfield. An Eastbourne corner was flicked on at the near post by but flew harmlessly across the goal. Daly managed to get in behind Gooch in the area but Kelly Herrett was alert to the situation and cleared before Daly could get in a shot at Marlborough.
With the game entering three minutes of added time, a period of extra time looked likely until Wilding passed to substitute Shelley Forster who took the direct route towards goal and played a one-two with Oliver that took her clear of the defence and drew the keeper off her line. Forster took a touch to steady herself before calmly stroking the ball past Walshaw and into the net. It was cruel on Eastbourne but the timing was perfect, giving them no time to come back.
Enfield's player of the match was Claire Gooch with Sheree Oliver running her close although the best player in the game was Eastbourne Town's Jacey Samson.
Enfield Town: Marlborough, McNeil (sub Brandon), Oliver, Herrett, Gooch, Panayiotou, Mabey, Lovell, Browne, Wilding, Halil (sub Forster). Subs not used: Bovington, Jennings.
Eastbourne Town: Walshaw, Daly, Templeman, Johnson, Jenkinson A., Abdalla, Hunter (sub Jenkinson C.), Zucker, O'Dwyer, Parslow. Subs not used: Hyland, Pearson, Roberts.
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