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Frances Bardsley edged out in Essex Cup final

PUBLISHED: 09:30 05 May 2016

Frances Bardsley's under-16 girls receive their runners-up medals after the Essex cup final (pic: essexfa.com)

Frances Bardsley's under-16 girls receive their runners-up medals after the Essex cup final (pic: essexfa.com)

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Essex Cup: Frances Bardsley 1 Great Baddow 3

Frances Bardsley Academy’s under-16 girls had to settle for runners-up medals after losing their Essex Cup final at Grange Farm.

Great Baddow had been beaten finalists in 2015 and successfully returned to the final as two goals from Holly Connell won the tie after Yasmin Cowley had cancelled out Isabel Plunkett’s early opener for Frances Bardsley.

Bardsley took the lead inside five minutes as Violet Pearce-Watson saw her shot blocked and the ball ricocheted across the penalty area where Plunkett was on-hand to fire in the rebound from 10 yards.

Baddow quickly created a chance to equalise as Cowley dashed into the box only to fire into the side netting, but Romford’s Bardsley could’ve extended their lead as Plunkett shot wide having been played through on goal to tee-up Georgia Griffin, who sent a half-volley just off-target.

Baddow’s Amy Purser also latched onto a through ball but stabbed wide, before they eventually levelled on 21 minutes as Cowley finished a strong run with a fine, curling effort inside the near post.

Three minutes later, Baddow were ahead and Cowley was involved again as her close-range effort was blocked and, as the ball rolled across the goal line, Connell was lurking to poke home at the far post.

In what was an entertaining first half, Bardsley had an opportunity to restore parity just before half time as Griffin’s corner was stabbed narrowly too high by Plunkett.

But Baddow enjoyed much the better of the second period as they went about extending their advantage.

Jess Barrow ran onto a long ball forward before shooting just off-target and Cowley’s low effort was well held by Bardsley goalkeeper Aimee Stripling.

Baddow did add a third on 73 minutes, with the ball dropping perfectly for Connell inside the penalty area and she lashed it into the net from 10 yards.

Bardsley responded in the final minute, with Plunkett bringing a fine save from Baddow stopper Alex Benois-Ellison after Griffin’s shot had been blocked.

But from the resulting Griffin corner, Pearce-Watson side-footed agonisingly too high.

Frances Bardsley Academy (from): Aimee Stripling, Lauren Bambridge, Jade Dudley-Keen, Lilly Adams, Georgia Griffin, Sadaf Afzal, Zainab Mudashiru, Emma Wood, Isabel Plunkett, Violet Pearce-Watson, Sophie Kelly, Tia Austin, Brooke Gentleman, Courtney Worsfold.

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