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Women's Football News
Whitley Bay retained the Northumberland FA Women's Cup with a thrilling 4-2 win against Newcastle Utd Res.
Newcastle were quick out of the blocks and on five minutes, Alice Stroyan hit a cross-shot that looped over the Whitley keeper's head for an early lead to the young Magpies. They remained in the ascendancy and were attacking with great purpose, causing the Whitley defence all sorts of problems. Newcastle were 2-0 up and no more than they deserved when on 17 minutes, Kate Brooks took advantage of some indecision in the Whitley rearguard and skipped round the Whitley keeper to slot home.
A stunned Whitley gradually started to settle and at least stemmed the tide of Newcastle attacks and managed to enjoy some possession of their own without really threatening. Just as the half time whistle was about to blow, a Steph O'Brien free kick wasn't dealt with in the Newcastle six yard box and Amy O'Brien was on hand to stab the ball home from close range. It was the lifeline that Whitley needed and a perfect time to score.
After the interval, Whitley started brightly and were on the attack from the off. Two minutes after the restart, Steph O'Brien played a ball through the Newcastle defence and Laurel Davidson chased it down. She reached it on the edge of the Newcastle box at the same time as keeper Jess Geoghegan and the two collided, both staying down - the ball spinning back to O'Brien, some 40 yards from goal. She took a touch and fired a brilliant shot over the stranded keeper and the Newcastle defence into the empty net. It was unfortunate luck for Newcastle, but nothing should detract from the exceptional vision and skill shown by O'Brien.
It was just the start that Whitley needed and the young Newcastle players were shell shocked after racing to a 2-0 lead and looking comfortable.
Whitley started to take a hold of the game and Newcastle were rarely seen as an attacking force. Both sides lost players due to injury and both changed shape and formation, but it was Whitley that adapted better to the loss of key players. On 74 minutes they took a deserved lead when a marvellous angled through ball by Nikki Smith was reached by Laurel Davidson just before the Newcastle keeper and she slid the ball past her in the unguarded net.
The tension of the Cup Final was relieved somewhat when the automatic pitch sprinklers suddenly appeared and started to unexpectedly spray water over the pitch and players. Time was added on as a Northumberland FA official hurriedly worked out where the 'off' switch was located.
When the game re-commenced it was more of the same and Whitley added to their tally on 80 minutes when a Laurel Davidson cross wasn't cleared and Steph O'Brien at the far post got her second of the night as she deceived a defender, created an angle and calmly knocked the ball into
the far corner.
Whitley comfortably saw the game out to run out 4-2 winners and retain the trophy they won last year. Manager Andy Windscheffel was delighted to lift the Cup, saying; "'It was definitely a game of two halves and it took us a while to come to terms with the game. Once we did, the second half was
ours and we ran out comfortable winners, scoring some great goals."
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