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Monday, May 5, 2014
Essex Cup final: Highams Park 3 Shenfield High 2
Shenfield High School’s under-14 girls suffered extra time heartache in the George Cash Trophy final at Brentwood Arena.
The two sides had drawn 2-2 in the final of the John Edwards Under-13 Trophy a year ago and this year’s meeting was just as tight.
Play swung from end to end, with Shenfield’s Shannon Drewe forcing an early save from Fareena Saleemi.
Shawna Harvey’s shot deflected wide before she collected Sydnie Naylor’s pass and fired past Ashleigh Holland to put Park ahead on 14 minutes.
Park went 2-0 up five minutes later as Naylor sent a curling effort past Holland and Saleemi parried Drewe’s rasping shot moments later to deny Shenfield a reply.
Drewe was foouled in the box late in the first half, though, and converted from the penalty spot, then levelled just before the break.
Saleemi was penalised for picking up a back pass and Chloe Eastwell teed up the indirect free-kick for Drewe to drill through a crowded box and square matters.
“The first half showed us playing well. The girls were doing really well at that point and they had everything under control but, unfortunately, when Shenfield equalised our heads went down a little bit,” reported Highams Park’s Lauren Heath.
Shenfield continued to channel their play through Drewe, who fired wide when set up by Amy Morton and swept Kirstie Jackson’s pass into the hands of Saleemi on 43 minutes.
Sophie Nyiro then took up the mantle, beating Shania Leacock during a purposeful run to test Saleemi at her near post before then sending a skidding strike goalwards that was kicked away to safety.
Naylor fired wide from long range at the other end but Shenfield almost snatched victory in the third minute of injury time when Drewe robbed Mazbeeen Osman in midfield and fired towards the bottom left corner, only for Saleemi to make a save with her feet.
Park moved 3-2 up in the second minute of extra time when Naylor fired Harvey’s short free-kick into the top corner, before Holland was alert to deny them a fourth moments later.
But Shenfield went close to levelling as Jackson’s shot came back off a post, before Park could celebrate at the final whistle.
“I felt the second half didn’t truly reflect how we play as a team but, going into extra time, they really fought for it and showed they had the hunger and wanted to win,” added Heath.
“I’m ecstatic. The girls have played amazingly; they wowed everyone. It’s a massive win for the school.
“Last year we drew with the same team in the Under-13s final, so it was nice for one of us to actually take the trophy home this year and even better for us that we did it.”
Highams Park: Fareena Saleemi, Ella Berry, Beth Campbell, Olivia Hall, Shania Leacock, Amber Bracey, Mazbeen Osman, Gemma Aldeen, Emily Sharp, Sydnie Naylor, Shawna Harvey, Isabel Heath, Britney Sita. Managers: L Heath, R Hall, R Gibson.
Shenfield High: Ashleigh Holland, Sophie Clark, Olivia Gibbons, Shannan Drewe, Ellen Hoad, Abbie Rawlins, Jaznial Bolton, Sadie Kirrane, Amy Morton, Sophie Nyiro, Kirstie Jackson, Heather Kenny, Maizi Garwood, Chloe Eastwell. Manager: J Rigg.