The FA Women's Premier League Cup
Stacey Sowden scores one, makes one and Bees reach Final.
Barnet Ladies 2-1 Portsmouth Ladies
The FA Women’s Premier League Cup
2pm, Sunday 13 February 2011
Honeycroft, Uxbridge FC
Tracey Kevins’ Barnet made it into their first FA Women's Premier League Cup Final for 15 years after edging Portsmouth at a grey and drizzly Honeycroft. Then known as ‘Wembley Ladies’, they beat Doncaster Belles on kicks from the penalty mark after a 2-2 draw to lift the trophy at Underhill in 1996.
Barnet enjoyed a perfect start yesterday with a goal after just two and a half minutes. A corner from the left was only cleared to the right edge of the box, where Stacey Sowden turned inside to hit a left-footer that somehow missed everyone and flew into the far corner past Louise Worsfold’s right hand. Sowden is a genuine goal machine, having notched 195 in 162 appearances since her debut in 2004.
The Bees were well on top in the early minutes, their confidence clearly boosted by the goal, and a Jess Trimnell volley for Barnet thudded against the bar as they threatened to build a significant lead. But Portsmouth started to put some measured attacks together as the half wore on and Barnet ‘keeper Cherie Rowlands had to face a barrage of shots.
She dived to her left to turn away two firm drives from Lucy Quinn before the same player volleyed over the top from close range. In the last moments of the half Pompey’s diminutive No.9, Gemma Hillier, worked herself into a one-on-one with Rowlands. She took several seconds to take aim but slipped the ball inches wide of the far post.
Barnet looked more focused after the break, their passing was better and Sowden was a constant threat with her electrifying pace. At the other end some more impressive stops from Rowlands kept it 1-0, as enterprising wing-play on the left by Shelly Cox provided more scoring chances for Hillier. Then Barnet doubled their lead on 69 minutes.
Suddenly they outnumbered Portsmouth in midfield and Sowden moved forward unchallenged with the ball through the middle. Eventually the defence came to close her down but she cleverly released a pass at the last possible moment to Trimnell, now completely in the clear on the left. The latter blasted a right-footer high into the net, leaving Worsfold with no hope of saving.
Five minutes from time Pompey were thrown a lifeline as Hillier was upended just inside the box and Kirsty McGee fired a perfect spot-kick into the corner. But the Bees defended resolutely in those difficult last few minutes and it could easily have finished 3-1 as substitute Vicky Boardman turned Cheryl Williams pull-back wide of the goal from two yards’ range.
A joyful Barnet will now play Nottingham Forest in The Final, after Fay Glover's side defeated Leicester 1-0 in their Semi-Final.
Cherie Rowlands, Jade Dempster, Sally Wade, Abbie Prosser (Vicky Boardman), Leanne Reidy, Gemma Rudman, Emma Davies, Danielle Murphy, Stacey Sowden, Jess Trimnell, Cheryl Williams.
Louise Worsfold, Lysette Russell, Jade Kirby, Molly Clark, Laura Heron, Kirsty McGee, Rosie Bidder (Becky Hunt), Lindsey Roe, Gemma Hillier, Lucy Quinn, Shelly Cox.