Nottingham Forest retained the Nottinghamshire County Cup on Friday evening as they beat Ollerton Town 1-0 to lift the trophy for a fourth consecutive year.
Helena Constantinou’s second half strike was enough to ensure the wins for the Reds and Shannon Weston put in an impressive performance in midfield as she was awarded this official Notts FA Player of the Match.
It was a battling first ten minutes as both teams enjoyed a fair share of possession at the beginning of the match but the Reds soon took control of the game and made several chances in front of goal. Katie Middleton created some space just outside the Ollerton box and smashed a shot towards goal but the ‘keeper got down to make the save.
The Reds were awarded a free kick on the 14th minute after Middleton was hacked down outside the Ollerton box. Lyndsey Harkin floated in the set piece searching for a Forest shirt but the ‘keeper rose the highest to claim the ball.
Forest should’ve gone a goal ahead on the 31st minute as Sianna Bennett went agonisingly close to netting her first goal for the side. The midfielder, who had put in a strong performance, unleashed a rocket from distance but her effort came crashing back of the cross bar.
Middleton came close again for the Reds after she picked up the ball and drove past several white shirts before firing a shot at goal. But her effort took a deflection and flew wide of the target.
The Reds were agonisingly denied another chance to go a goal ahead before the break as this time Izzy Sullivan went close. Sullivan drilled a shot from the edge of the area that slipped underneath the diving ‘keeper but a recovering defender got back to clear the goal bound ball off the goal line.
Forest continued to dominate the game in the second half and their first chance of the half came through Constantinou only three minutes in. The youngster flashed her skill as she weaved through several Ollerton shirts before blasting her shot at goal but it was well blocked before it was able to test the ‘keeper.
But there was no stopping Constantinou’s second shot as she put the Reds in the driving seat on the 54thminute. Sullivan hit a shot from outside the area that came bouncing back of the goal post and Ollerton failed to clear away the dangerous ball and Constantinou was rushing in to smash the rebound past the ‘keeper.
Bennett lined up another powerful long ranged shot for the Reds as they looked to double their lead but she was denied by a deflection this time and saw her effort fly wide of the goal.
Ollerton continued to press Forest until the final whistle and saw their best opportunities of the game come in the final five minutes. A brilliant free kick three minutes from time nearly drew the side level but luckily for the Reds it just brushed over the Forest goal and only a minute later Megan Howard created another chance for her side but her close ranged effort also failed to hit the target.
The win saw Forest lift the County Cup for a record 13th time and ensure the side enjoyed a well-deserved and positive end to the season.
Speaking after the game manager, Alena Moulton spoke highly of her side and expressed how much they deserved to lift that trophy. She said: “The girls have deserved more than what they’ve got in recent weeks so to get this win is exactly what the team deserves.
“Part of football is finding the way to win and grinding out the result, and we did that. So massive credit to the girls for that.
“The side have put in so much hard work, graft, dedication and sacrifices this season so the girls deserve this tonight.”
Forest: Hallam, Walters, Harkin (c), Reek (Wilson 66’), Hewitt, Weston (Edwards 45+3), Bennett, Middleton, Hickingbotham, Constantinou (Bonser 79’), Sullivan
Subs not used: Davies, Brown
Goal: Constantinou 54’