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Hampstead & Westminster ladies secure spot in EH Cup semi-finals

16:09 26 February 2014

Hampstead & Westminsters Kike Lawal attacks, with Natasha Price (left) in support, during the victory over Sevenoaks. Pic: Stephanie Kalber

Hampstead & Westminsters Kike Lawal attacks, with Natasha Price (left) in support, during the victory over Sevenoaks. Pic: Stephanie Kalber

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Hampstead & Westminster Ladies extended their historic run in the national England Hockey Cup as they beat Sevenoaks 4-2 to reach the semi-finals.

H&W’s ladies have never previously made it into the last eight of the competition and, although they were facing a team who play in the division above, in the Conference, the home side came out on top at Paddington Recreation Ground.

That secured their place in the final four – and a trip to face Birmingham University on Sunday March 23.

Kike Lawal made a fast start on the right flank and, six minutes in, she stole the ball on the halfway line, drove into the D and delivered a chance for Georgia Bayliff, who was unfortunate to see the ball squirm agonisingly wide.

Less than two minutes later, Lawal was at it again, and this time there was a finish to match the build-up play as Natasha Price struck her 20th goal of the season.

Emma Stocking was leading the line well for H&W, making a series of intelligent runs in behind the Sevenoaks defence and retaining possession.

However, Sevenoaks were pushing hard for an equaliser at the other end, and they forced a short corner which was saved by goalkeeper Sophia Perowne, while the ensuing rebound shot was casually swatted away by Annabeth Witjenburg.

Hampstead attacked again as Alice Garrard meandered through four sticks, but she was unable to produce an end product after her skills – and Sevenoaks went up the other end and equalised from their second corner.

Witjenburg was forced into a rash tackle and, although the initial shot from the penalty corner was charged down by Price, the ball broke kindly for Sevenoaks, leaving Perowne with no chance as the sides went into the break all square.

The second half started with H&W on the offensive, with Bayliff getting in on goal and electing to shoot, despite having Lawal in support – but she was denied by the rapidly scrambling Sevenoaks defenders and the chance went begging.

Rachel Thomas then won the ball and fed Caroline Ford, who slipped a cute pass through to Price, but her progress was brought to a juddering halt as she was fouled, and Hampstead were unable to test the Sevenoaks keeper from the resulting corner.

Undeterred, the home side kept pressing, and they were eventually rewarded with two goals inside a minute.

Lawal was the provider again, driving into the D and slipping the ball to Lou Radford, who scored from a yard out to make it 2-1.

Moments later it was 3-1 as Juliet Chapman found Lawal, who switched the ball out left to Stocking – and she delivered an inch-perfect pass in to Thomas, who calmly cut inside a defender and passed the ball into the net, leaving the keeper rooted to the spot.

H&W extended their lead even further five minutes later, winning a short corner, and when Witjenburg struck the ball at goal, Stocking slid in front of the goalkeeper to deflect it into the roof of the net.

Now three goals behind and with elimination staring them in the face, Sevenoaks threw everything at the Hampstead defence – and Garrard was shown a green card for breaking the play down.

Moments later Sevenoaks won a corner and, although the initial shot was mis-timed, it still required a save from Perowne – and the ensuing chaos resulted in a Sevenoaks penalty, which was converted.

It did not matter though, as Hampstead held their two-goal lead until the final whistle.

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