Buckingham Athletic Ladies – 0
Abingdon United Ladies – 10
Buckingham Athletic Ladies were blown away on Sunday in the Berks & Bucks Ladies cup final by a ruthless Abingdon United side, who have this season pretty much blitzed anyone who has come across their path in Division One, having scored sixty-five goals in their thirteen league games whilst conceding just eight. Athletic had no answer to the wave after wave of attacks they suffered in both halves of the game, and had it not been for some heroic goalkeeping by Ellen Fenables, some last ditch defending & some wasted chances the score could have been a lot worse. But Carmen Robinson’s side did not give in and battled away until the end, and are highly unlikely to face a side like this again, and did create chances of their own, but against a side that boasted players with previous experience with Oxford United & Oxford City simply had no answers to unlock their solid defence, and stem the onslaught they faced.
United made their intentions clear from the start, as Buckingham took the kick off within two passes they were hassled into losing possession, the ball slid through the defence saw Abingdon skipper Abbie Smith away on goal but Fenables was quick off her line to bravely dive at the strikers feet to smother. At the other end an early chance fell kindly for Jordan Heron but from the corner of the six yard box keeper Sophie Kirby was comfortable to block at her near post.
Any thoughts of frustrating the United ladies evaporated just three minutes in, to the right of goal Heather Young fired across goal, the ball evading the dive of Fenables and running in behind Kiera Isaac tapped into the empty net. A minute later another right wing cross found Isaac who cushioned off to Smith who sliced her effort just wide. Then on seven minutes Abingdon doubled their lead through the highly impressive Molly Lygo, she found the freedom of the left channel too good to ignore and strode forward, from the eighteen yard line she drove at goal & despite two hands from Fenables the power took the ball home.
Buckingham captain Kerry Stapleton tried to get her side back in the game moments after the goal, a long range shot from outside the area seemed harmless enough initially, however the ball dipped over the head of Kirby and bounced up off the crossbar and over for a goal kick. This was brief respite for the Athletic side, as their opponents tore at goal at every opportunity, Isaac cutting down the right and with few options she flashed the ball across the goal face and a yard or two wide of the back post. Then on twenty-three minutes United won a corner, the ball swung in and as a mass of bodies went to attack the ball centre-half Steph Carrick went down, the whistle sounded and for a moment no one seemed to know what was happening, but the referee calmly walked towards the goal before pointing at the penalty spot.
Full back Gina Ianniello-Phillips took responsibility and fired home giving Fenables no chance. Buckingham tried to regroup & get some sort of foothold in the game, Heron had a block in the Abingdon box blocked at close range, before Evie Hawkins was fed in on goal but her marker was so close she had to take the shot on early and it lacked any real power or conviction. Then eleven minutes before the break United scored a fourth, again a cross from the right found Lygo unmarked and she had time to control before picking her spot to bury home. Isaac was next to try to increase her sides lead, clear through on goal she took too long to shoot allowing Fenables to advance and dive on the ball at her feet, before substitute Amy Pipe attacked down the left with Georgina Howells right on her shoulder, the two tussled into the box and a brilliant last ditch tackle saw the Buckingham defender divert for a corner.
From the corner the ball swung in and as a group went up for the ball it looped over Fenables and a scramble at the back post saw Nell Boxall turn home. Five minutes before the break a rare poor clearance from the United defence saw Heron away down the left, her cross however was seized upon by Kirby although it took two attempts to gather with Hawkins lurking nearby, and there was still time for an Abingdon corner to be met by Carrick who flashed her header across goal and wide. H/T: 0-5
The pressure didn’t ease at all after the break, a great cross from the left from Pipe saw Fenables again have to throw herself at the ball to smother as Isaac looked to add to her tally, moments before Smith worked herself some space on the edge of the box before narrowly firing wide of Fenables left hand post. Four minutes into the half saw the best chance for Hawkins, she was fed a ball in behind the Abingdon defence and her pace took her away on goal, from twelve yards she could only fire wide.
The agony of the missed chance was then compounded from the goal kick as Abingdon scored their sixth of the game, a through ball for Pipe to chase saw her outpace the defence, and whilst Fenables stood tall the pacy winger slotted home. Just six minutes later it was seven, a ball over the top saw Isaac away, her first shot saved by Fenables however the ball fell kindly back to the forward who smashed home.
Smith then saw a long range shot pushed away two-handed by Fenables for a corner, before an inch perfect cross from their right from Heather Young found Isaac in the middle but she glanced her header inches wide of the back post. On sixty-five minutes they got their eighth of the afternoon, Pipe away down the left channel and from the corner of the box she chipped over Fenables and into the top corner.
Buckingham tried to press when they could, but were now just happy to keep the ball out of their own half, Heron got down the right and from the acutest of angles fired into the side netting. But it didn’t last long and United soon had their ninth with fifteen minutes left, Lygo crossed into the box and Fenables made an initial save, the ball fell loose and Isaac back heeled to Tina Higgs who couldn’t miss.
A through ball from Stapleton threatened to release Heron on goal but the ball rolled so quickly it was comfortable for Kirby to collect, then immediately back up the other end Isaac saw a shot from the edge of the area screw wide. With four minutes left Lygo completed her hatrick with the goal of the game, collecting a pass right on the corner of the area she curled over Fenables and into the top corner.
In the dying moments a good pass from Stapleton saw Hawkins get a close range effort away that was blocked for a corner, the resulting corner swung in and met by a firm header from the captain and Kirby had to use both hands to push up and over her crossbar, the ball landing on top of the net. The final whistle sounded seconds later much to the relief of the beleaguered Athletic Ladies, who turn their attention now to their quest for promotion. F/T: 0-10
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