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Women's Football News
Derby County capped a remarkable season by completing the Midland Combination League and Cup 'double' when beating a gallant Copsewood (Coventry) 4-3 in a thrilling League Cup Final at Whetstone.
Derby were quickly into their stride and they took the lead as Lorna Abbey powered home a header from a Sinead Morgan corner.
Copsewood responded to the setback and twice went close, Leanne McKenna striking a free kick over the bar and another setpiece, taken by Chantelle Stanley, found Jodie McGuckin in the area where she prodded her shot just wide.
Derby continued to impress going forward with Emily Jeffery and Maria Wayne looking strong in midfield and a number of excellent corners taken by Morgan were causing problems for the Copsewood defence.
As the game moved towards half time, Derby doubled their advantage with a spectacular strike, full back Becki Bryan getting forward to crash an angled shot past Natasha Smithers and into the far top corner.
A loose ball in defence gave Copsewood an opportunity to pull one back but Nicola Foskett's shot was narrowly off target. The Coventry side were to go even closer in the opening minute of the second half as Melissa Ball was put through and her shot came back off the post.
Derby then took a three-goal lead when a fine reverse pass from Maria Wayne released Lauren Steadman who produced a clinical finish.
It looked as though the game was over but Copsewood had other ideas and two goals in a five-minute spell brought them right back into the game. Firstly, they needed to survive a huge goalmouth scramble in their area following a Morgan corner which saw a shot blocked on the line by Kate Stevens, before a good run from Foskett took her to the goal line where her low cross was slotted home by Leona McCook.
Then the arrears were reduced to one goal, this time Amanda Whalley scoring direct from a corner to further boost Copsewood's hopes.
Derby hit back with a great cross by Steadman just evading the oncoming Jemma Douglas in front of goal but Copsewood were enjoying a great spell at this stage with Ball and McKenna prompting matters in midfield.
Copsewood continued to press but it was Derby who were to strike again next, with eight minutes remaining. 16-year-old substitute Hannah Ward had only been on the field for six minutes before Jeffery slid the ball through to her and she beat Smithers before showing great coolness to tuck the ball into the empty net from an angle.
Still Copsewood did not give up and three minutes later they were back in it again. McKenna lifted a cross into the area where McGuckin ran in to neatly volley past Simpson to make it 4-3.
Copsewood were almost back on level terms as the pacey Foskett hit a firm shot on the turn, the ball looked goalbound but Simpson produced a superb save to keep her side in front. It proved to be a vital stop as Derby held out to win their second trophy in as many weeks.
Derby County: Jenny Simpson, Becki Bryan, Suzanne Hart, Jemma Douglas (sub Hannah Ward 76mins), Lorna Abbey, Emily Jeffery, Sinead Morgan, Maria Wayne, Sophie Thomas (sub Leanne Abbey 84mins), Lauren Steadman, Leanne Beet (sub Natalie Ennis 70mins).
Copsewood (Coventry): Natasha Smithers, Marsha Towey, Chantelle Stanley (sub Heidi Sloan 76mins), Leanne McKenna, Kate Stevens, Emily Brimson (sub Kayleigh Brookes 76mins), Melissa Ball (sub Becky Greene 76mins), Amanda Whalley, Leona McCook, Jodie McGuckin, Nicola Foskett.
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