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Chichester City won the South East Counties League Cup at Horley Town FC with a 4-1 win over Seahaven Harriers in the Final.
Abbey Shrubb scored all four Chichester goals to secure her club's first triumph in this competition which has been in existence since 1986. The winners are currently leaders in the Premier Division, though they are likely to be overtaken by Whitehawk, whilst Seahaven are challenging for promotion from the First Division East, therefore Chichester were strong favourites.
Shrubb make her mark early in the match with a powerful run only halted by a brave block by Seahaven keeper Nakita Hunt, at the expense of a painful blow to the face. Hunt was beaten in the 13th minute by a low Shrubb shot from the edge of the area after her initial effort was blocked, as Chichester took an early lead. Kirsty Willett nearly doubled the lead from a Laura Pike cross but Seahaven equalised from their first meaningful attack on 27 minutes. Georgia Ungoed neatly finished a three-player combination move from ten yards to give the underdogs a boost.
However Chichester roared forward and hit the Harriers with a quick double, Shrubb firstly beating the offside trap to finish from the edge of the area, then taking advantage of a poor clearance on 32 minutes to complete her hat-trick. Chi's Steph Madden was unlucky to hit the post with a smart shot past the advancing Hunt, who also made a fine save from a powerful Shrubb effort on the turn from the edge of the area just before the break.
Seahaven had found it hard to contain the powerful Chichester attack which was well serviced by skipper Laura Streeter and her midfield colleagues and must have feared further damage as they started the second half. As it turned out, the Harriers coped remarkably well with fine performances from the whole team. Taylor Coade, who was outstanding throughout in midfield, battled away to drive the Harriers forward and Vicky Phillips on the right wing made a number of tricky solo runs to theaten Vicky Barnard's goal.
The Harriers defence put in a brave shift to frustrate the Chichester forwards and it took until the last five minutes for them to extend their lead with a high Shrubb shot which Hunt let slip into the net Chichester had gone close on several occasions but Seahaven had always competed well in a match notable for the fierce commitment of both teams in blustery, wet conditions. It was the powerful running and cool finishing of Shrubb which had proved to be the deciding factor on the day as Chichester City finished their season on a high.
Chichester City Utd: Vicky Barnard, Danni Paul, Sam Parker, Amber Maher, Rosie Maher, Steph Madden, Laura Pike, Laura Streeter, Sally Bourne, Abbey Shrubb, Kirsty Willett. Subs: Natalie Spencer, Abbie Crook, Megan Thompson.
Seahaven Harriers: Nakita Hunt, Sharnie Franks, Natalie Ring, Ellie Hawes, Emma Bashford, Taylor Coade, Harriet McKellar, Kay Hobbs, Emma Hatt, Vicky Phillips, Georgia Ungoed. Subs: Beth McKellar, Leanne Bentley, Kiri Canning, Emma Howard, Fran O'Callaghan.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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