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London Kent Football Utd 2>
Kent Football Utd 2
London Kent Football Utd 2
Kent Football United will have to wait a week to have another chance to clinch the London & South East Counties Regional League title after an injury time equaliser from local rivals London Kent Football United denied them victory.
A 2-2 draw took KFU to the top of the table on goal difference from AFC Phoenix but losing a two-goal lead in the last ten minutes after dominating the majority of the match will be a big disappointment.
KFU started strongly, Amy Russ and Lizzie Waldie going close in the opening minutes. It was Waldie who gave the hosts the lead on 21 minutes firing a shot across London Kent keeper Jade Charlton when played in on the left edge of the area. The lead was doubled just three minutes later when a corner from the left was headed home by Shannon Burden.
KFU keeper Grace Taylor was called into action to turn away a powerful effort from Georgie Davis just before the half hour, but the majority of the action was at the other end and KFU went into the break with a comfortable two-goal lead after a fine first half showing, strong in defence and inventive in attack.
The pattern continued after the break with Waldie, Russ and Rachel Stevens carving out good opportunities at regular intervals. However, the third goal eluded the hosts and gradually London Kent, set to become Dartford FC next season and playing in the colours of the men's club, started to up the pressure on the home defence.
KFU were coping well until an opportunist goal from Emily Hart, chasing down a loose ball to take advantage of defensive hesitation, halved the deficit on 79 minutes. London Kent took inspiration from this unexpected lifeline and only fine defensive work from skipper Tash Moloney and Charleen Cairns kept the visitors at bay as the clock ticked down.
Well into added time, the pressure paid off for London Kent. A long throw in was cleared but returned with an inviting left wing cross by Megan Mansfield which was headed home at the far post by Verity Snow for the equaliser which denied the hosts a title celebration.
Despite the late disappointment for the majority of the 287 crowd who offered enthusiastic support despite the heavy rain, KFU made the match into a great community occasion with the unveiling of a superb tribute banner to honour Jordan Dawes, a KFU player who tragically passed away earlier in the year.
Kent Football United have another chance to clinch the title at home next week, needing to avoid defeat in their final match against Queen's Park Rangers Girls to seal promotion to the FAWNL. London Kent Football United will contest the League Cup Final with AFC Phoenix next month.
Kent Football Utd:
Grace Taylor, Ami Burnham, Tash Moloney, Poppy Payne, Lucy Cockerill, Shannon Burden, Zara Roots, Chloe Francis, Lizzie Waldie, Amy Russ, Rachel Stevens. Subs: Charley MacNeil, Becky Burnham, Temi Adeyemi, Charleen Cairns.
London Kent Football Utd:
Jade Charlton, Georgie Davis, Shannon Dunham, Megan Mansfield, Verity Snow, Isabelle Michalski, Alicia Gibbs, Elizabeth Adams, Emily Hart, Laura Susarta, Rachel Moore. Subs: Hayley Mansfield, Sarah White, Charlotte Long.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Rachel Moore makes a tackle on Tash Moloney
(middle) Charleen Cairns wins a header against Rachel Moore
(bottom) Rachel Stevens has a shot blocked by Georgie Davis
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