QPR LADIES Reserves narrowly missed out on an unprecedented third successive Middlesex Junior Cup success as Enfield Town Reserves lifted the trophy in Wednesday night’s final.
Laura Cooper’s late penalty proved a consolation as three second-half goals proved the R’s undoing, succumbing 3-1 at Preston Park.
Rangers began on the front-foot against their experienced opponents – who fielded six first team players – forcing a succession of half chances in the opening stages.
Enfield improved as the half wore on, though, and came close to making the breakthrough on the counter-attack after 35 minutes but Sara Sinclair’s rasping drive was kept out by R’s goalkeeper Naomi Swift.
Rangers started the second half in similar vein to the first, dominating in midfield, but fell behind in bizarre circumstances shortly before the hour mark.
Kerrie Marlborough’s long-range freekick somehow found its way through the entire R’s rearguard before nestling into the back of the net.
Rangers came close to an immediate response but a combination of wayward finishing and resolute goalkeeping preserved Town's advantage.
Stacey McConville headed Chloe Fogarty’s cross narrowly wide before the woodwork came to Enfield’s rescue as Cooper’s centre was deflected off the post.
With less than 15 minutes remaining, Rangers threatened again but Lauren Harris couldn’t prevent her close-range effort from flying over the crossbar.
Rangers were made to pay as moments later Town doubled their lead from the spot after an infringement in the box, allowing Marlborough to notch her second goal of the evening with the resulting penalty.
Steve Bate’s side rallied for a route back into the game but, with Rangers pouring forwards in search of a response, Enfield capitalised by bundling home a decisive third goal through Sinclair at the other end.
Rangers’ endeavour was finally rewarded in stoppage time as Natalie Skiverton was unfairly upended in the box, allowing Cooper to salvage a deserved consolation from 12 yards.
QPR: Swift, Ishmael, Glynn, Chitate-Samuriwo (Skiverton 67), Marsh (c), Hayes (Patel 87), Cooper, Nicholson (Townsend 87), Harris, C.Fogarty, McConville.