The Middlesex FA women’s team entertained Essex on Wednesday evening (12 December) at Rectory Park, in their concluding Southern Counties Cup Competition group match. They emerged from a very watchable encounter with a hard earned 4-3 victory.
The match started at a furious pace, with both attacks creating chances. Essex went ahead in the third minute through Paris Smith, who netted with a low shot.
Middlesex equalised seven minutes later through Alessandra Barreca from Chloe Sampson’s corner. However, we were in arrears again within a minute, when Essex striker, Courtney Clarke headed Paris Smith’s cross home.
We equalised again two minutes later. Alessandra released Lavana Neufville with a superb through ball, which Lavana took on and slotted home.
We had to wait another 10 minutes until the next goal arrived, although before then there were chances at both ends. A fierce rising shot by the outstanding Essex player, Zoe Rushen, hit the side netting just behind the goal post and a dangerous low cross by Middlesex’s Ashley Cheatley, following a penetrating run, was scrambled away.
Essex went ahead again in the 23rd minute through a close-range shot by Paris Smith, which our custodian, Lizzie Rose touched but couldn’t stop.
There were no further goals before the interval but Essex had the better of the exchanges and thoroughly deserved their interval lead. They were proving to be an accomplished and very well organised team. Shots from Paris Smith and Hannah Porter just cleared our crossbar and Lizzie Rose saw plenty of action. She saved at Paris Smith’s feet and diverted a well struck shot from Zoe Rushen around her post.
Half-Time Score: Middlesex 2 Essex 3
Alex Baker, in the visitors’ goal, used her feet to prevent an equaliser by Lavana Neufville after the latter had won the ball in the penalty area. However, Essex continued to create most chances. Lizzie Rose made a flying save from Zoe Rushen’s well directed header. A good passing movement involving four players ended with Georgia Holdaway’s drive narrowly clearing our bar. Then Georgia tested Lizzie from close range.
Nevertheless, we equalised, for the third time, after 75 minutes, when Alessandra provided another good through ball, which Chloe Sampson capitalised on.
Lizzie kept us level with a save at Sophie Vale’s feet, when the latter was through on goal. Then in the 90th minute, Chloe snatched all three points for us with a drive low into the corner of the visitor’s net.
Final Score: Middlesex 4 Essex 3
The match was well controlled by Chris Fernandes, who was ably assisted by Anthony Cox and Paul Mitchell.
Lizzie Rose (Denham United), Sheryce Slater (Enfield Town), Niamh Magill (Delta State University), Page Laidler (QPR Development), Anya Kinane (QPR), Rachel Keightley (Denham United), Kasha Petit (QPR) (capt), Ashley Cheatley (Ashford Town (Middlesex)), Chloe Sampson (QPR Development), Alessandra Barreca (Actonians) and Lavana Neufville (Ashford Town (Middlesex))
Substitutes (repeat substitutions were used): Chelsea Orridge-Golding (Actonians), Mara DeLuca (QPR), Alissa Down (Ashford Town (Middlesex)) and Justine Buckmire (AFC Wimbledon)
Manager: Craig Nicholson
Assistant Manager: Daniel May
Head Coach: Jacob Ballheimer
Physio: Katy Bignell.
Alex Baker (capt), Kelsey Smith (both Billericay Town), Hannah Porter (Leyton Orient), Laken Duchar-Clark (Ipswich Town), Lucy Jones (Billericay Town), Kerry Stimson (Ipswich Town), Paris Smith, Lindsey Morgan (both Billericay Town), Courtney Clarke C&K Basildon), Katherine Nutman (Leyton Orient) and Zoe Rushen (Billericay Town)
Substitutes: Sophie Vale (Billericay Town), Georgia Holdaway (Brentwood Town), Holly Turner (C&K Basildon) and Abigail Fry (Hutton)
Manager: Kim Coster
Coaches: Karen Stephanou & Ben Simms
Our thanks are once again given to our Rectory Park management team, who hosted the event superbly.
At the conclusion of the match, Middlesex FA caps were presented to Justine Buckmire and Sheryce Slater, in recognition of their 6th appearances.
Having obtained seven points, from our two victories and a draw, in our three matches in the North Group of the competition, we must now await the result of the Essex v Army match at Aveley on 30th January to find out if that is enough to win us a place in the final against the winners of the South Group.