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Brentwood Town will compete in the South East Combination next season after winning the Eastern Region League Premier Division courtesy of a 2-1 victory over title rivals Bedford Ladies.
The Blues embarked on a remarkable run of seven straight League wins at the end of campaign, collecting 25 points from a possible 27 during the final two months of their inaugural ERWFL Premier Division campaign to pip Bedford to the Championship.
Their opponents in back-to-back meetings at the conclusion of the season provided a stern test for Ian Bent's squad, none more so than when Sarah Saunders gave the visitors a fourth minute lead in the title decider at Hullbridge Sports FC.
Undeterred, Brentwood replied through Sophie Lovell, who notched her ninth goal in ten games from centre half to equalise twelve minutes before half-time, before Leah Cowan's calm finish on the hour mark ensured that Town took all three points and collected the first Championship in the club's history.
"What a fantastic achievement for the club," beamed boss Ian Bent. "I'm so proud of everyone connected with Brentwood Town Ladies FC for what we have achieved. We set out at the start of the season to consolidate, but to go and win the League is great testament to the efforts of everyone involved.
"I can't praise the players highly enough for what they have done this year. From day one of pre-season, the attitude and togetherness was there, and they deserve every one of the plaudits that they receive for this season."
Bedford stole the early momentum, Izzy Vian having already advanced off of her goal line once to foil Saunders by the time the forward was found for a second time when Natasha Fensome flicked a header into her path. The ball bounced up invitingly for Saunders, who controlled her finish well to angle a dipping shot into the bottom right hand corner.
Brentwood set about gaining a foothold in the game, with Carla Rose going close with a low shot before, in the 33rd minute, Blues levelled. Lucy Faraday floated a free kick up to the far post, where Lovell met the ball with a trademark header, converting her 14th goal of the season via the inside of the left hand upright.
Bedford were frustrated by Vian eleven minutes after the half time when she got a strong hand to Vicky Vickery's fierce shot from a lofted ball over the top and, when Saunders looked set to tuck away the rebound as she raced onto the loose ball, she could only direct her effort over the crossbar.
Five minutes later, Brentwood edged in front with a majestic flowing move. Nikita Whinnett found Rose down the inside right channel and she quickly moved the ball on to Cowan, who took a touch before calmly slotting her 12th goal of the campaign into Upton's bottom left hand corner.
"Once again, I couldn't fault the work-rate or the attitude of the team today. We went behind early and many teams would have folded at this point, but we stuck to the game plan and took control of the match before going on and thoroughly deserving the win," assessed Bent.
Brentwood's back line held firm to see off any danger in the final half hour, with Lovell unfortunate not to extend the advantage in stoppage time when her header from a Faraday corner was cleared off of the line but eventually, after five minutes of added time, the final whistle blew on a triumphant 2010-11 campaign.
Town were then able to celebrate back-to-back promotions as well as securing a spot in the third tier of female football in England for 2011-12 in front of a season's best crowd of 89, leaving their manager to set his sights on the next challenge: "Everyone at the club now has a wonderful adventure to look forward to next season, with Brentwood Town Ladies playing in the South East Women's Combination," he surmised.
(Report by Robert Craven)
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