Brentford Women’s B team ensured their place in the Capital Cup final (Junior Section) following their 3-1 win over Tooting Bec at Bedfont Sports Club.
An even first-half saw both sides go into the break level at 1-1 before Kasey Clifford sealed her hat-trick with a brilliantly placed penalty and another long-range effort ensuring the Women’s B team’s place in the final of the competition.
The B team came into Sunday’s semi-final looking to book their place in a cup final for the second year running and extend their winning streak to five games.
With Tooting playing in the opposite half of the Greater London Women’s Football League where they sit second like the B team, the game was always set out to be an even affair.
This was the case for much of the first half with both sides looking to gain a foothold in the match but struggling to create any real goal-scoring opportunities.
Charlotte Halpin put in a strong performance
It took until five minutes before half-time for Brentford to break the deadlock through the captain, Clifford.
The number 20 displayed her shooting talents from a free-kick which was at least 30 yards out from goal.
Her strike dipped in front of the Tooting keeper with the bounce causing problems for the oppositions number one as the ball slipped between her hands finding the back of the net.
It looked like Brentford were heading into the break with a lead, but Tooting soon fought back and showed their quality on 44 minutes through a free-kick of their own.
The Tooting number eight was shooting from a similar range as Clifford and hit her strike clean with her left foot as the ball flew over Emily Boycott in the Brentford net.
With so much at stake both teams came out in the second half battling to find the goal that could put them ahead.
Brentford were beginning to grow in the game and the arrival of Holly Hawkes from the bench proved a positive one.
Hawkes made an impact from the bench
It was the number 10 who was dragged down inside the Tooting box by their number 12 as the referee pointing to the penalty spot.
Clifford who has a 100% record from the spot stepped up and kept a calm head in what was a high-pressure situation to smash her spot kick emphatically into the left side netting giving the Bees the lead for the second time in the game.
Just three minutes later, on 70 minutes Clifford showed the unbelievable talent she has once again as she sealed her hat-trick following another outstanding strike.
The attacking midfielder latched onto a loose ball and let fly from the right side of the penalty box with her effort arrowing into the top left corner leaving the Tooting keeper with no chance.
Clifford put in one of the performances of the season
The third goal created some breathing space between the two sides as the Bees managed to see off any late Tooting pressure as they booked their place in the final of the Capital Cup.
Speaking after the win, head coach Tommy Ryan-Maynard and assistant head coach Charlotte Tanner were in high spirits.
Tanner said: “I’m very happy, the players deserve this they have been working so hard in training and on match days, they deserve to be in the final.”
After a tight opening 45 minutes, Ryan-Maynard explained his message to the team at half-time.
“I wanted us to keep concentrating on ourselves, we believe in the girls so much and they have really shown their trust in us so I was sure we would be absolutely fine.”
Talking on Clifford’s amazing performance, Tanner said: “She’s really matured over the last few seasons and making her captain this year tops it off.
Ryan-Maynard continued: “She led the group perfectly today, it was absolutely amazing and the fact we kept our heads when it did start to become quite physical showed why we came out winners.”
The Women’s B team have experience in cup finals after last season’s Greater London Women’s Football League Anniversary triumph.
Tanner goes on to explain how she believes this could help her side in this year’s Capital Cup final.
“I think last season’s final will help but we have had a shake-up in teams so there isn’t many who played in that cup final, but the players that we have deserve it and I know they’ll give it their all.”