A bullet header from Niamh Euman helped Chesham United earn a 2-1 victory and deny the MK Dons Ladies’ attempt to retain the BBFA Women’s Senior County Cup.
They could not hold on to their lead for long, though, as 10 minutes later Heather McDonnell volleyed the ball over the opposing goalkeeper Lucia Masella to make the scores level at the break.
Despite conceding before half-time it did not damage Chesham’s confidence, as within 10 minutes of the restart they once again took the lead –Tash Smith crossed in an inch-perfect cross, which Euman powerfully headed home to take the lead.
The Dons tried to search for an equaliser but were unable to find one, with Chesham holding on to their lead to ensure a County Cup triumph.
Both sides started the game brightly and were battling for the ball in the early stages of the game. However, neither side were able to create an opportunity to register a shot on target within the first 10 minutes of the game.
The Dons went close first, when taking a short corner. Lauren Goodier played the ball to Amy Gooderham who passed it back to her. Goodier then crossed the ball into the box for Hannah Barrett, who rose above the Chesham defence to win the header but was unable to guide it passed Masella.
James Honeyman’s side almost took the lead in the moments that followed but were denied by a one-handed save from Masella – Goodier, who had cut in from the wing, struck from inside the box, aiming for the bottom left corner, but the impressive save kept the scores level.
Chesham responded to those early chances by carving out chances of their own, starting with a free-kick out on the right wing in a dangerous position, which they whipped in, only to be denied by Vicky Holland heading the ball clear.
Then came the first goal of the game.
A ball was once again whipped into the Dons’ box, but this time Fraser was there to flick it into the net and give her side the lead.
The celebrations were short-lived as within 10 minutes, Goodier accurately played the ball in to the box towards McDonnell, who turned and struck the ball on to the volley to make the scores level.
After the half-time break, Chesham started quickly, with Nat Adams getting the ball in the Dons’ box. As Adams went to shoot, Kara Howes made a successful last ditch tackle to block a golden opportunity for Chesham.
Chesham, though, kept the pressure on the Dons and it paid off in the 55th minute when Smith crossed the ball into Euman in the box, who headed the ball into the net to make it 2-1.
After going a goal down, Chesham limited the Dons’ attackers to only long speculative shots, though Charley Clarke did go close with her attempt from distance, forcing Masella once again to make a vital diving save.
The Dons thought they had equalised when substitutes Anna Loftus and Amelia Hazard nearly pulled off a successful combination – Loftus crossed the ball into Hazard who attempted to head it at goal, but her effort went over the bar.
However, Chesham held on to their victory, working hard in the final minutes to deny any comeback from the Dons.
Speaking after the game, James Honeyman was disappointed with the result and his team’s performance in the final of the County Cup.
He said: “Not enough heart, not enough desire and not enough mental toughness.
“We let ourselves down and all the people who paid to come watch too – for that we are truly sorry.”
Starting XI: Smith, Howes, Gillings, Clarke (c), Doyle, Holland, McDonnell, Barrett, Naylor (Hazard 67), Gooderham (Loftus 57), Goodier (Newsome 73)
Unused subs: Newman and Shults
Goals: McDonnell (44)