Football: Heart-breaker as Hethersett lose cup final in final minute
Acle Ladies 5 Hethersett Hearts 4
A stirring Norfolk Women's League Cup final saw Hethersett Hearts end on the wrong side of a nine-goal thriller – with Acle scoring the winner in the last minute of extra-time.
The game see-sawed back and forth with both teams enjoying periods in the lead. Hethersett looked out of the game as early as the 18th minute by which time they had conceded two goals – both from corners.
But the resilience and teamwork that have been a highlight of the season were soon on display as Hethersett hit back to equalise before the break, thanks to two goals from quick-silver striker Hannah Waters.
Alicia Lacey was also desperately unlucky when she tried to chip the goalkeeper from within her own half and saw the ball drop onto the top of the net.
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The second half was pretty even with both teams looking capable of scoring and Hethersett looked to have one hand on the trophy when Lisa Ferdani fired home after 84 minutes to make it 3-2.
Acle injected some urgency into their game and two minutes later were on level terms again following a goalmouth melee.
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As the match moved into extra-time players began to tire, but it was Hethersett who took the lead with Waters once again outpacing the defence to complete a hat-trick.
It took Acle just 30 seconds of the second period of extra-time to pull level yet again.
Just as the game looked destined for penalties, Acle were awarded a free-kick just outside the area and scored with a drive into the top corner.
It was a sickening blow for an excellent Hethersett team who only seconds earlier had hit the bar following a corner.
It was a bitter-sweet day for Hannah Waters, who scored a hat-trick but ended up on the losing side. She was also making her 100th appearance for the club and her three goals took her into joint second place in the club's all-time top scorers' list with 184, just one goal away from the top spot.
After the game Hethersett manager Kevin Swann paid tribute to his players in a season that saw them finish runners-up in both the league and league cup – both to Acle and which also saw them suffer just two defeats – both to Acle.
However, Hethersett did have the satisfaction of being the only side to beat Acle during the season.
n Hethersett Athletic Men's Saturday came up against unbeaten Crown Fire Division Two champions Castle Acre Swifts and went down 4-0.