Categories: General Date: May 25, 2018 Title: U16 girls v LancashireU16 girls Northern Counties Final v Lancashire
The Girls travelled to Leyland to meet the very strong Lancashire side which had inflicted their only previous defeat of the season in the national ESFA Trophy Semi-Final. Plan B seemed to be working well as North. almost took the lead with their first attack, when a shot from Bex Henderson (QEHS Hexham) was bound for the top corner until a tremendous airborne save from the keeper Lucy Williams tipped the ball around the post. Another outstanding save followed and after surviving this early pressure, Lancs took to the offensive with a series of corners resolutely defended Northumberland. North. were struggling to keep possession, but a rare break after 25 minutes saw Bex Henderson play a great diagonal ball over the defence to Anna Soulsby (Gosforth), who attempted a run into the box, but was well marshalled by the opposing full-back. Lancs struck back immediately and opened the scoring with Mary Collier (Preston) cutting in from the left and, under challenge, slotting the ball inside the far post. Pressure increased on the away goal, a free-kick just missing the far post and a courageous block by Grace Ayre (Sacred Heart) keeping out a fierce shot. A last minute flurry put Erin Nelson (Whitley Bay) into the penalty area, but good defending forced her wide and led only to a corner, so the half ended at 1-0.
Lancs started the second half on the attack and keeper Sarah Bambrick (St.Benet Biscop’s) was kept busy until a counter-attack allowed Erin Nelson to get around the outside of her full-back and cross to Anna Soulsby whose shot was well saved. Nelson got to the goal-line again a few minutes later, but with the option to cross or shoot, hesitated and possibly the best chance for an equaliser evaporated in a goal-area scramble. The North. defenders were now working heroically to contain repeated attacks, with Georgia Richardson (Whitley Bay) and Grace Ayre outstanding, but with 15 minutes remaining Jayden Maxwell (Benfield) almost broke through, only to be crowded out, and a well struck shot from 25 yards tested the Lancs keeper once again. This relief was short lived, with Lancs returning to the attack, but with two minutes left, a clash of heads led to Grace Ayre needing lengthy treatment before being helped from the field. Only after this disruption and in added time did the North defence finally succumb, Kadie Morrison (Blackpool) scrambling home at the far post to make the final score 2-0.