Hertfordshire FA U14 Girls Challenge Cup Final
Watford Ladies U14 Harts 1-2 Garston Ladies U14 Pumas
|| Jemimah Rose (53)
|| Abby Reith (24), Libby Poster (29)
|| Olivia Syson, James Bromfield, Lewis Hart
The two teams faced each other in the county cup final for the second season in a row, with the Pumas avenging last years’ penalty shoot-out loss to the Harts.
Both teams started brightly on a cold and sunny Mother’s Day morning in Letchworth, with each side seeing a goal disallowed in the first 15 minutes.
Firstly Garston’s skipper, Ruby Jager, saw her side footed finish ruled out for offside in the 9th minute, before Jemimah Rose’s strike for Watford Ladies was also flagged offside minutes later by the linesman.
Some fluid football followed the early offside decisions as nerves settled and the two sets of players settled in to a closely fought first half. Garston Ladies were unlucky not to go in front 19 minutes into the game after Abby Reith came inches away from converting Abbie Lafayette’s cross from the left flank.
Lafayette and Reith wouldn’t be denied twice though as they combined to put the Pumas ahead in the 24th minute. The impressive Lafayette jinked away from two challenges before threading a pass through to Reith who swivelled and fired the ball into the bottom corner from 18 yards.
The purple army then doubled their lead 5 minutes later to make the score 2-0. Hannah Coote evaded the Watford Ladies defence with fantastic footwork on the left side of the box for Garston and squared the ball across the box for Libby Poster to convert from 6 yards out.
Watford Ladies nearly pulled one back through Neve Mayes just before the half time whistle, but the left winger could only shoot straight at the keeper after a surging run on the left wing for the Harts.
The Harts started the second half in a lively fashion as they looked to find a way back into the game, and fired some warning shots at Garston in the first 10 minutes after the restart. First Amy Ryan shot just over the top, before Molly Thomas-Conlon fizzed an effort just wide from outside the box.
In the 53rd minute the Golden Girls got their reward and pulled a goal back. Neve Mayes magically dodged and weaved past several Garston defenders before passing to Jemimah Rose to tap home to make the score 2-1.
The Harts, sensing a comeback, pushed numbers forward in search of equaliser and will feel indebted to their goalkeeper Grace Harrington for keeping them in the game. Garston countered on the Watford team as they pressed up the pitch and the Puma’s were denied two glorious opportunities by Harrington.
First, Abby Reith found herself in space in the 66th minute, and her curling effort was heading for the back of the net before Harrington’s fingertips sent it away from goal. A minute later, Harrington had to show her athleticism again to rapidly change direction and make a reflex save from Sapphire Cheadle’s header for the Pumas.
Watford Ladies then pushed and pushed for an equaliser as the clock ticked down and came incredibly close to levelling the scores with 2 minutes to go, but Jemimah Rose’s shot whistled over the top of the crossbar for the Harts before the final whistle was blown and Garston Ladies Pumas were crowned U14 Girls Cup Champions.
Garston Ladies Pumas Management Team of Andrew Phillips, Jason Dale and Leigh Edmunds said:
“I think we started well and in the first half our girls controlled the game. It was a brilliant game though and both teams were wonderful. Our team have still got a lot to play for this season too, we’ve got a semi-final next week and we’re still in with a shot at the league as well.”
Watford Ladies Harts Manager, John Ryan, said:
“The result hasn’t gone how we planned or how we wanted it to go, but one team has got to win and one team has got to lose. I couldn’t have asked anymore from any of the players, especially the second half, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Watford Ladies Squad:
Grace Harrington, Georgia Knott, Molly Gough, Neve Mayes, Jessica Gough, Connie Woodward, Amy Doherty, Jemimah Rose, Roma Agnihotri, Amy Ryan, Lorna Jolly, Isabella Hughes, Katie Finch, Molly Thomas-Conlon, Isabella Kidd
Garston Ladies Pumas Squad:
Lauren Nolan-Coggon, Mia Ford, Catronia Condon, Abbie Lafayette, Jennifer Thomson, Hannah Coote, Megan Allaway, Jasmine Phillips, Raaya Thanki, Katie Edmunds, Libby Poster, Ruby Jager, Sydney Webb, Abby Reith, Chiara Baffa, Sapphire Cheadle
Images courtesy of Mike Williams Photography: http://www.photographybymikewilliams.co.uk/
For more information, please contact Hertfordshire FA Marketing & Communications Officer, Callum Riley via 01462 650218