The Middlesex FA was responsible for organising the Junior Cup final this season, between University College London Women’s FC and Ashford Town (Middlesex) Ladies FC. The match was hosted for us by Wealdstone FC at their excellent Grosvenor Vale HQ. It was an exhilarating and enjoyable encounter played in a very good spirit.
The UCL starting line up was Pauline Borel-Charlet, Jessica Wadey, Kiah Rutz, Christina Sofianos (capt), Emily Sprake, Sophie Britton, Tara Mathias, Andrea Silksoset, Kirsten Walker, Natalie Faktor and Danika Bethune.
Substitutes (the repeat substitution rule applies in this competition): Fareeha Khan, Myra Adra, Meghan Root, Layla Zahawi and Ariane Maharaj.
Ashford Town (Middlesex) started with Lauren Restel, Laura Huse, Amber Luzar, Jess Boyd, Tia Prior, Lavana Neufville, Irisha Smith, Vicky James (capt), Claire Samuels, Ashley Cheatley and Charmaine Benham.
Substitutes: Jade Harker, Charlotte McGregor and Amy O’Sullivan.
Ashley Cheatley opened the scoring for Ashford Town in the 3rd minute, when she volleyed home Charmaine Benham’s cross.
Play then moved from end to end in an entertaining manner. However, although both goalkeepers were kept busy neither was severely tested at this early stage. After 25 minutes, UCL keeper Pauline Borel-Charlet, was adjudged to have picked up a back pass. Skipper Vicky James received the resultant indirect free kick from Lavana Neufville and cleared the defensive wall with her shot but couldn’t make it dip sufficiently and it passed narrowly over the cross bar.
UCL equalised in the 29th minute. Jess Wadey put Californian striker, Danika Bethune, clear and Danika took the ball around keeper, Lauren Restel before slotting the ball home. Then, within a minute, UCL were ahead. Danika was again the scorer, this time with the assistance of Natalie Faktor. Soon after this, Lauren Restel made a good save from Natalie at the expense of a corner.
Ashford Town got back on equal terms in the 40th minute, when Ashley Cheatley netted, following a corner taken by Vicky James. Then, they almost took the lead, when a well struck low shot by Lavana Neufville, from another Vicky James corner flew narrowly wide.
Half time score: UCL 2 Ashford Town (Middlesex) 2
In the opening minutes of the second half UCL’s French goalkeeper, Pauline Borel-Charlet, was hurt in a collision with Ashford Town’s Irisha Smith. Both players were going for the ball, which had run loose, after Pauline had made a diving save. Pauline recovered after treatment and continued to enjoy an outstanding match.
After 55 minutes, Ashley Cheatley hit the UCL post, after being released through the middle by Vicky James. However, 3 minutes later, Ashley completed her hat trick and put Ashford Town ahead again. Irisha passed to Charmaine Benham, who worked her way through the UCL defence to enable Ashley to flick the ball into the net from close range.
The excitement continued and play flowed up and down the pitch. A long free kick from UCL’s Jess Wadey skimmed the cross bar. Ashley Cheatley robbed a defender but her fierce drive was turned over the bar by the excellent Pauline Borel-Charlet. Danika Bethune worked clear but her well struck shot was efficiently dealt with by Lauren Restel. Charmaine Benham fed Amber Luzar whose shot was headed off of the goal line by UCL skipper Christina Sofianos.
In the 73rd minute, Danika penetrated the Ashford Town defence and netted to complete her hat trick and level the scores again.
Pauline Borel-Charlet made 2 brave saves at the feet of Lavana Neufville and Ashley Cheatley respectively. Both keepers distinguished themselves in this match.
Charmaine Benham had a good chance to win the match for Ashford Town, after being put through by Vicky James but she hit her shot over the bar from close range.
Score at full time: UCL 3 Ashford Town (Middlesex) 3
After 3 minutes of extra time, a long ball by Vicky was taken on by Ashley and converted to make the score 4-3 to Ashford Town. Up to now all the goals in this game had been scored by players wearing number 16 (4 by Ashley Cheatley and 3 by Danika Bethune).
Pauline punched away a cross shot from Claire Samuels. A penetrating run by Amber Luzar, during which she lost and regained possession, ended with her shot testing the keeper from a narrow angle. Ashley made a run down the left and cut in to provide Claire Samuels with an opportunity. However, In the Pauline saved Claire’s shot.
UCL equalised in the 22nd minute of extra time. Kirsten Walker (number 13) stopped the trend of Number 16s scoring by netting from close range, following a corner taken by Jess Wadey.
Ashley Cheatley worked her way through the UCL defence yet again and fired narrowly over the bar with the very last kick of the match.
Score after extra time: UCL 4 Ashford Town (Middlesex) 4
Vicky James took the first penalty of the shoot out for Ashford Town but her shot was saved by Pauline, diving to her left.
The next 3 kickers, Jess Wadey (UCL), Laura Huse (Ashford Town) and then Kirsten Walker (UCL) all scored, making the score 2-1 to UCL.
In the 3rd set of kicks Lavana’s shot crashed against the cross bar and bounced down onto the goal line and Meghan Root scored for UCL. (3-1 to UCL).
The 4th set saw Pauline get her hands to Ashley’s penalty without being able to prevent it crossing the line and Tara Mathias hitting the bar. (3-2 to UCL).
Then Charmaine Benham scored with a shot which Pauline touched and Sophie Britton converted her kick to win the match for UCL.
Penalty shoot-out score: UCL 4 Ashford Town 3
The Middlesex quartet of match officials, Referee Chris Fernandes, Assistant Referees, Leah Ambridge and Steven Simpson and Fourth Official Dario Zavagno controlled proceedings admirably and contributed to the excellent entertainment.
The Guest of Honour, John Taylor, Chairman of Middlesex FA presented the trophy and mementoes after the game and selected Ashley Cheatley as Player of the Match. John said that this was a very closely fought battle between several outstanding candidates.
The attendance was 57.
This match was followed by the Capital Women’s Intermediate Cup Final, which was organised by London FA. Charlton Athletic Women Reserves beat AFC Wimbledon Ladies Development 3-0 with 2 goals from Kylie Manktelow and 1 from Darcy Wells.
Our thanks are given to Wealdstone FC for the use of their facilities and to James Klarfeld and Paul Fruin for looking after us so well on the day.
Photos can be purchased through Ying: www.wusphotography.com