Hethersett's cup triumph

Billericay Ladies 1, Hethersett Athletic Ladies 5A five-star performance saw Hethersett Athletic Ladies win the Eastern Region Women's League Cup for the third consecutive season.

Billericay Ladies 1, Hethersett Athletic Ladies 5

A five-star performance saw Hethersett Athletic Ladies win the Eastern Region Women's League Cup for the third consecutive season.

In many ways this was the most satisfying of the three victories, coming from a young and relatively inexperienced side that has struggled in recent weeks. Hethersett once again rose to the occasion magnificently, with a display of pace and power that at times unnerved their Essex opponents.

The opening exchanges were even, before Hethersett hit Billericay with a classic one-two. On 31 minutes, Emily Coates was hauled over in the area and stepped up to score from the resultant penalty. Six minutes later, Coates chased down a through-ball and rounded the keeper to tap into the net.

The second half saw strong pressure from Billericay and, for a while, Hethersett began to wobble, with the Essex side pulling a goal back on 55 minutes and looking capable of equalising. Hethersett had other ideas, however, and went close on a number of occasions before Grace Birchall ran onto an inch-perfect pass to crash home.

From that point on, there was no stopping Hethersett. On 80 minutes substitute Natasha Snelling broke down the left and centred for Emma Mulley to smash an unstoppable shot into the top corner. Mulley made it a nap hand four minutes from time with another superb strike to round off a performance that deservedly earned her the player-of-the-match award.

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Twelve of the winning Hethersett squad were under 18 and only two, Emily Coates and Lisa Ferdani, featured in the first final win in 2008.

Meanwhile, Hethersett Athletic Men's Saturday's season has come down to a matter of mathematics, as a goalless draw against Sporle takes their promotion push into the last Saturday of the season.

Hethersett began the match knowing that four points from matches against Sporle and Northwold would give them promotion from South and Central Norfolk League Division Three.

With rivals Castle Acre and Northwold both winning, Hethersett's lack of firepower against Sporle saw them drop two points but overall a draw with a fair result. The team certainly rode their luck against Sporle, with young keeper Ryan O'Sullivan making a number of vital saves.

The result means that if Hethersett beat Northwold at home on Saturday, they will clinch runners-up spot and promotion. A draw would mean Castle Acre finishing second and defeat would see Northwold leapfrog them.

Club chairman Peter Steward said: 'We certainly like doing things the hard way. Our fate is in our own hands. We can finish anywhere from second to fourth.'