CORINTHIANS 3 DOUGLAS ROYAL 2 AET
BY PAUL HATTON
BIRTHDAY girl Sarah Kerford’s extra-time strike proved to be the winner and gave Corinthians the ideal present, lifting the MBL sponsored Flood-lit Cup, defeating their Ballafletcher neighbours Douglas Royal 3-2 in the final. Royal had taken the lead twice through Katie Halsall and Sarah Breen, however, Corinthians levelled through efforts from Leonie Roberts and Kiera Morgan, forcing extra-time where Kerford’s strike proved to be decisive.
Corinthians started in bright fashion, Roberts and Megan Loughran having shots repelled by goalkeeper Kerri Williams. When Royal did get out of their half after ten minutes and create their first opportunity, they scored. A through-ball caused disarray in the Corinthians’ defence, Donna Shimmin laid it off to Halsall who exquisitely dinked over Ozga and into the net.
Undeterred, Corinthians searched for a leveller, Helen Thomas’s dipping effort was pushed wide and Stephanie Hall’s scooped attempt was off-target. Then came the match’s first talking point. Anna Dillon hit full-thrust entering the opposing box, Andrea Lace scythed the Corinthians’ captain down – a stone-cast penalty but it wasn’t given.
That only spurred Corinthians on, Dillon broke free but lifted her shot over the crossbar and Loughran bent a shot wide. After this spell of sustained pressure, they equalised. Dillon megged Sam Jordan and found Roberts who unleashed a dipping effort that flew into the roof of the net. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaZamRdOgG0
Then came another contentious decision – Dillon yet again broke free and Williams raced out of the penalty area, the ball clearly hitting the goalkeeper’s arm and the decision yet again wasn’t given. Williams was called into action again, pulling off the save of the match, thwarting Amy Speed’s low shot at full-stretch.
Royal looked to get back into the game, Sarah Breen curled an effort wide and Shimmin’s chipped effort hit the crossbar.
With only seven minutes remaining, Royal’s must have thought their name was going to be engraved onto the trophy when they restored the lead. Bekki Cole’s lay-off was met by the advancing Breen, drove a shot that landed just inside the right post
Kym Hicklin could have wrapped up the match for Royal, guiding a header narrowly wide. Corinthians were looking to pay for their profligacy but struck before full-time. Shannon Groves pushed a ball to Morgan’s feet, drove an oblique shot that flew into the top left for the equaliser and force extra-time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79QJBmp-hYw
Corinthians players started to drop like flies with cramp and injuries but still battled on. And in the first period of extra-time, the current champions scored again which proved to be the winning goal. Dillon slipped a through-ball to Kerford, who nudged it passed the onrushing Williams and send Corinthians in raptures. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWjxMJ_7p_s In the second period Kerford could have scored again when she was clean through but hit the crossbar, as did Lockwood at the other end of the pitch.
Once the final whistle had blown, Corinthians celebrated wildly, deservedly winning this trophy for the third occasion.
Corinthians: Rose Ozga, Shannon Groves, Leanne Prescott, Sarah O’Reilly, Shelley Simpson, Helen Thomas, Stephanie Hall (Jenna McStay 66m) Anna Dillon, Megan Loughran (Kiera Morgan 42m), Helen Thomas, Leonie Roberts (Sarah Kerford 53m),
Subs not used: Alsivane McGreggor, Toni Beresford
Douglas Royal: Kerri Williams, Andrea Lace, Zoe Hawley, Becci Pate (Tracy Craig 60m), Sam King (42m), Sam Jordan (Karen Faragher 70m), Bekki Cole, Kym Hicklin, Donna Shimmin Katie Halsall, Sarah Breen
Subs not used: Maggie Rough, Leanne Quayle
Referee: Willie Cowley
Assistants: Chris Taggart, Peter Lewis
Fourth official: John McCallum
Match rating: ****(out of five)
Player of the match: speed (Corinthians)