Nottingham Forest Ladies 2 – 1 Radcliffe Olympic Ladies
Amy Dicken grabbed a last-minute winner on Tuesday evening as she ensured Nottingham Forest Ladies lifted the Nottinghamshire County Cup in a 2-1 win over Radcliffe Olympic Ladies.
A first-half goal from Natasha Hudson was ruled out in the second half by Honor Cantrell but super sub Dicken made sure her side came out victorious in dramatic style.
The Reds dominated the opening exchanges of the first half and nearly went ahead after only eight minutes. Hudson played a good ball over the top of the Radcliffe defence straight to the path of an on running Leanne Robinson but her first-time shot went sailing over the crossbar.
Forest were pushing heavily for the early advantage in the opening quarter of the match and came close through two corners from Summer Holmes. Both of the midfielder's corners met the head of Sammy Conroy but her first effort was wide of the target and she was unable to connect properly with the second attempt.
Hudson was in the thick of the Forest attack and found herself gifted with another opportunity in front of goal to double her side's advantage. The winger met a great through ball and was in on goal, but her shot was well saved by the opposition goalkeeper.
But Hudson made no mistake six minutes later in front of goal as she put her side deservedly ahead on the 30th minute. After some great passing in front of the Radcliffe box between Hazzana Parnell and Conroy, Hudson received the ball 18 yards out and the talented youngster took a calm touch and smashed the ball over the helpless 'keeper's head and into the back of the net.
The Reds nearly went into half time two goals ahead after some more neat link up play on the edge of the box. Parnell controlled the ball with ease and knocked it across to Holmes who rocketed a shot straight at the 'keeper, who initially fumbled the save but managed to keep hold of the ball.
The second half continued where the first half left off with high intensity and plenty of goalmouth action. It was Radcliffe who had the first attacking opportunity in the second half as they drew level on the 53rd minute. It was a lovely solo effort by Cantrell as she dribbled with the ball towards the box and floated her shot from 20 yards out, over Rebecca Thomas in goal and in the top right-hand corner.
Forest dominated the remaining 30 minutes of the game and were searching heavily to regain their earlier lead. Substitute Dicken made an instant impact after entering the field and made a cross after collecting the ball on the edge of the box. Her cross went searching for a waiting Hudson but the 'keeper made claim of the ball first.
Dicken continued to impress as she beat her defender on the wing with some skill and pace. The forward then knocked the ball sideward to Conroy, who took a touch and shot from 21 yards out but her powerful effort was well saved by the 'keeper.
Hudson proved why she was presented with the player of the match award at the end of the game as she hustled well to keep the ball in play and in Forest's possession as she cheekily back heeled the ball past her defender in the box. Hudson then played a short pass to Dicken who hit it first time, and her shot was flying wide of the target, but a Radcliffe defender deflected it goalward and into the hands of the 'keeper.
Despite Forest's domination Cantrell nearly put her side ahead for the first time of the evening from a similar position to her earlier goal but Thomas easily claimed her shot this time around.
Holmes and Conroy continued to link up well on corners and that partnership nearly gifted Forest a win in the 88th minute. Conroy met another Holmes' corners but her weak header was just wide of the target.
Dicken finally got the goal she had been searching for in the 92nd minute as she sealed victory for her side. Radcliffe failed to clear the ball to safety from their box and Dicken was there to poke the ball over the 'keeper and into the back of the net as Forest won their third straight Nottinghamshire FA County Cup.
Forest Ladies: Thomas, Darby (c), Wright, Re, Highman, Bennett, Conroy, Holmes, Robinson, Parnell, Hudson
Subs: Dicken, Cullen, Griffin, Thompson, Walters
Goals: Hudson, Dicken