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Women's Football News
Sunday saw the County Cup finals for the Under-14 and Under-16 girls and the Women's Cup at Raunds Town FC in Northamptonshire.
The two girls Cup finals are the County Cups which see qualification into the National Tesco Cup competition. Moulton Magpies progressed into this Regional competition by beating Corby Hellenic Girls by just a single goal.
The Under-16s tie was not so straight forward. The tie between Billing United and Netherton United was a close run affair, ending 2-2 after full time, remaining 2-2 after extra time and it was left to who had the nerve on penalties.
The Billing keeper and captain took the first penalty and it said it all "that's my responsibility, now you follow." Then followed a few successful penalties, one miss, a great save by the Netherton keeper, something Joe Hart would be proud of, followed by another shortly after. No-one seemed sure of the final score until the referee confirmed that Netherton had won on penalties. It was harsh for Billing but it was a very exciting game. Good luck to both Netherton and Moulton representing Northamptonshire in the Tesco Cup.
The Ladies were a bit anxious having had to wait for their delayed kick off due to the previous game but finally, their 4pm kick off took place. The final was a repeat of last year's with Northampton Town Ladies taking on Kettering Town Ladies. Northampton, now under new management, had a quite different team from last season with 4 or 5 players having progressed up from the Centre of Excellence, in addition to players who have been with the club for a few seasons.
Kettering were strengthened from last season as well, also with a few new players involved and recently promoted to the premier division of their league. Kettering play just one tier lower than Northampton, playing in the Eastern Region League Premier Division whilst Northampton have had a difficult start in the Midland Combination, though they now seem to be holding their own.
On paper, Northampton perhaps had the edge but it remained fairly equal for 20 minutes with both sides having some good possession. It was Northampton who took the lead with a long range shot into the top corner. It was a great shot and was near unstoppable. Then just before half time, Northampton were awarded a penalty and took a 2-0 lead. This was the score in last year's final. Kettering came out fairly lively in the second half and were soon awarded a penalty of their own, which was converted and gave the game even more of a lift. Kettering had some good spells and one of their shots was cleared off the line by a defender before Northampton went up the other end and scrambled another goal. 3-1 was the final score, it was a great performance by both teams played in a good spirit.
We were very fortunate to have England and Arsenal Ladies striker Ellen White on hand to present the medals and trophy. Fresh from scoring an equaliser in Arsenal's Champions League quarter final first leg last week and just before jetting off to Sweden for the return leg, we are very grateful to Ellen for coming to do this for us. Maybe this was some consolation to Kettering who had given everything in the game.
Ellen then presented the medals to both teams, including the Northampton goalkeeper Emily Cure, whom she used to play alongside at Chelsea. Northampton captain Lisa Porter then took the cup from Ellen and the celebrations began.
Congratulations to Northampton and bad luck to Kettering, maybe third time lucky next year?
by Kathryn Hall
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