Evans and Slaney Fire Fremington to Womens Senior Cup Glory

Fremington Women won the Graddon Vending Devon Women's Senior Cup on Friday evening, beating Budleigh Salterton Women.

Graddon Vending Devon Women’s Senior Cup Final

Fremington Women   2 - 1  Budleigh Salterton Ladies

Played at Coach Road, Newton Abbot 05/04/2024

The evening didn’t get off to the best of starts for Budleigh who were without their first choice goalkeeper, who was unavailable on the night. To make matters worse their reserve keeper, Tahla Williams injured a hand in the warm - up and had to be replaced, Bec Long taking the gloves and Kirsty Brown stepping up from the bench to take her place in midfield. Undaunted, Budleigh kicked off and were soon on the attack and, in the fourth minute Brown tested Steph Tolly in the Fremington goal with a shot from the edge of the box.

In the ninth minute they should have gone ahead, Kelsey Salter heading wide when played in by Maisie Smith. They didn’t have long to wait however as, in the eleventh minute, they took the lead, Smith racing down the right to blast a twenty yard strike over Tolly into the corner of the net. In the fourteenth minute Tolly did well to punch clear an effort from Budleigh’s Jodie Millet at her near post.

Budleigh’s defence had done well to keep Fremington from putting Long to the test but when, in the nineteenth minute, Immy Lang broke through Long did well to push the shot wide where it was cleared. In the twenty-second minute Lang again burst through the Budleigh back line but her strike from twenty-two yards was well saved by Long.

The game had become very open and, despite periods of heavy rain and high winds, the 342 spectators in attendance were being treated to an entertaining game with both teams doing their best to overcome the elements .

In the thirtieth minute Smith saw her shot from just outside the box picked out of the air by Tolly at the far post and, at the other end, Lang burst through on a number of occasions but with no end result. Indeed, in the thirty-sixth minute, it was another burst down the left from Lang the brought the corner kick from which Fremington equalised. Hannah Kingdom sent in an inswinging cross which cleared Long and gave Amy Slaney the chance to poke the ball home from two yards out.

There was little threat from either side during the final 10 minutes of the half despite the best efforts of Kirsty Brown, who was the stand - out player, breaking from midfield, and the half – time break came with scores tied a one goal each.

Half time over and Fremington brought on Beth Evans to replace Jodie Dixon. The effect was almost immediate as her pace caused confusion in the Budleigh defence such that, in the forty-ninth minute, she put her team ahead with a fierce shot from twenty three yards that gave Long no chance. Two – one to Fremington now and it would have been three had Tolly not blocked another Evan’s attempt from the edge of the six yard box.

Budleigh replaced Katie Worsley with Kayleigh Roberts and started to gain the upper hand in midfield, snuffing out the bursts from Lang and Evans and giving Brown and Millet licence to break forward.

In the sixty-seventh minute Brown was through wide on the right but saw her shot well saved and three minutes later Millet broke through but shot across goal from the edge of the six yard box.

In the seventy-ninth Flemington’s Lang had the chance to kill the game off when put in down the left but pulled her shot just past the post and, five minutes later at the other end, Smith put a twenty-eight yard free kick just over the bar.

There had been little let up in the weather conditions and it became clear that both teams were tiring leading to more substitutions in an attempt to keep the tempo up. In the eighty-eighth it was one of those substitutes, Budleigh’s Megan Harris, who missed out on a good chance to level the score, firing her shot over the bar from twelve yards.

Five minutes of additional time was added by referee Dan Shakespeare, mostly due to players cramping up in the final quarter, but the only chance of note fell to Evans who, with a minute left on the clock, fired her strike from the edge of the box just wide.

Both teams had given all they could and their supporters from North Devon and East Devon respectively were treated to some quality ladies football at a very blustery Coach Road where, over the next eight weeks, twenty more finals are due to take place.

Player of the Match -  Kirsty Brown (Budleigh Salterton)

Written by Dennis Smith, Devon County FA.