The three Capital Girls’ Cup finals were contested last Sunday on Bedfont Sports FC’s excellent 3G pitch. These trophies are competed for by teams from The Amateur Football Alliance, London, and Middlesex FAs and replace the individual County Cups. The age categories for this season’s competitions were changed to Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16.
Under 12 Cup Final
This trophy is competed for by teams of 7 players on a reduced size pitch. Matches are 30 minutes each half and rolling substitutes are used. The final between Alexandra Park Youth U12G West Girls and AFC Leyton Girls (Youth) U12, resulted in a comfortable victory for the former team.
The opening stages of an entertaining match produced a succession of corners for Alexandra Park before they went ahead in the 11th minute, through Caitlin Boodram Star, who converted Ellie Gilbride’s low cross.
Alexandra Park’s second goal arrived 3 minutes later. Caitlin set up Tara Walsh whose initial shot was well saved by Graci-May Euranie Spencer-Adams. However, Tara netted from the rebound.
Tara scored her side’s third goal 4 minutes before the interval from Alena Hubbard’s pass and 5 minutes after the break, Caitlin hit a great shot on the turn for their fourth. 6 minutes later, Caitlin completed her hat trick by scoring Alexandra Park’s fifth and final goal with a good cross-shot.
Alexandra Park had several other scoring chances but were thwarted on several occasions by the Leyton custodian. Tara Walsh almost completed her hat trick in the closing stages of the match. Her lob hit the crossbar, Graci-May dived to save at her feet and then she fired wide from a good position.
Despite the margin of their defeat, Leyton played some attractive football and came close to scoring in the closing stages. Grace Craven’s fierce shot was beaten down by the keeper and both Katie Hunt and Lillian Bebel fired narrowly wide.
Referee Olga Svaikevic officiated in an efficient and pleasantly low key manner.
FINAL SCORE: ALEXANDRA PARK 5 AFC LEYTON 0
Alexandra Park: Lemara Nolan, Kate Houghton, Tayla Dennis, Ellie Gilbride, Ella Kostam-Stephens, Scarlet Shefer James, Tara Walsh, Caitlin Boodram Star, Bella Mellows, Alena Hubbard and Mia Hawkes.
Manager: Adam Shafer Assistant Managers: Michael Hawkes and Adem Ali.
AFC Leyton: Molly Baxter, Lillian Bebel, Ornela Brahaj, Grace Craven, Graci-May Euranie Spencer-Adams, Joni Garrett, Jolie Harris. Katie Hunt, Megan Reilly and Julia Tansley.
Manager: Tom Cruse.
Under 14 Cup Final
This final involved the Hendon Youth (U14 Girls) and the Queens Park Rangers Girls U14 teams. It was fairly evenly contested and contained some attractive football, mainly in midfield.
There were few scoring opportunities in the goalless first half. The well-marshalled defences largely kept the strikers at bay and the goalkeepers dealt competently with anything that got past them.
QPR captain and central defender, Mae Rush was particularly impressive, with some timely interventions. Her ongoing duel with Hendon striker, Leyla O’Brien, was an interesting feature of the match.
Leyla showed some great touches throughout the game but was unable to get a meaningful shot on target during the opening period.
The best efforts on goal were a high free kick by QPR’s Jessica Francis-Weir from around 30 yards, which was competently taken by Faye Hazelton and a clever flick from Hendon’s Gemma Selby, which brought a fine reaction save from Saskia Fisher.
Leyla O’Brien released Gemma Selby in the opening move of the second half but Mae Rush came to the rescue for QPR with a good interception. Nevertheless, Hendon went ahead in the 3rd minute of the half through Haneeka Thandi. Haneeka hit a great volley, from a QPR clearance, which flew into the roof of the net.
Mae Rush made another good interception before Leyla O’Brien broke through for a clear run on goal, only for the keeper to save bravely at her feet. QPR midfielder, Iman El-Hannachi shot narrowly over the crossbar and Hendon’s Jeneice Benjamin delivered a fierce high drive which the QPR keeper managed to push straight up into the air before it was scrambled away.
Leyla O’Brien scored a stunning goal to double Hendon’s lead in the 20th minute of the half. Her well-struck shot, from about 25 yards, curled into the top corner of the goal.
Hendon had further chances but resolute defending, particularly from Mae Rush and keeper Saskia Fisher, prevented any further scoring.
The team of match officials performed excellently.
FINAL SCORE: HENDON YOUTH 2 QUEENS PARK RANGERS 0
Hendon: Faye Hazelton, Kiara Van Der Geest, Haneeka Thandi (capt), Edona Malaj, Jeneice Benjamin, Charlotte Kiely, Nicole White, Emma Nolan, Leyla O’Brien, Gemma Selby and Daisy Brooke-Taylor.
Substitutes (repeat substitutions were used): Edie Sunman, T’yana Nee-Chambers, Lereim Ferhat, Maya Henley and Hannah Iguchi.
Co-Managers: Dean Harrington, Ben Moore and Paul Zavros.
Queens Park Rangers: Saskia Fisher, Ruby Maiden, Amaya Navarro, Mae Rush (capt), Anne Sophie Thomann, Jessica Francis-Weir, Kyra Fleary, Jemma Woodcock, Harriet Stiles-Winfield, Iman El-Hannachi and Chloe Hewitt.
Substitutes: Ruby Norman, Olivia Connery and Jasmine Mainoo.
Manager: Robert Rush.
Referee: Reanna Rhodes Assistant Referees: Alison Wade and Alexandra Lupano Fourth Official: Olga Svaikevic.
Under 16 Cup Final
This, the last game of the three, was between Queens Park Rangers Girls Under 16 team and Tottenham Hotspur Ladies Under 15 team.
The Spurs team had performed well in reaching the final of this age group, defeating three Under 16 teams on the way, including their own club’s (after a penalty shootout). This (then Under 14) squad won the Under 15 Cup last season. However, they were unable to defy the age difference this time. Although they fought valiantly in the final, they could not overcome a very good QPR side, who won more emphatically than the 2-1 scoreline suggests.
The first half was played almost entirely in the Spurs half of the field. At the interval, QPR led by a goal scored in the 13th minute by Emily Foss, with a high cross-shot.
QPR almost increased their lead in the first minute of the second half, through Megan Harris, whose shot thudded against a post. Then a low ball skidded across the Spurs goal area, without anyone getting a touch.
Spurs came more into the match but didn’t trouble the QPR goalkeeper unduly. Sophie Hewitt released Sophie Barnes twice. The first shot was smothered and the second was comfortably saved.
Spurs keeper, Millie Carter saved at Wicky Balawender’s feet, when the latter ran onto Alexander Popper’s through ball and at the other end, Lucie White left her penalty area to clear from Lauren Baker.
The Spurs keeper made a great save from a close-range header from a corner but QPR increased their lead with 10 minutes remaining. Spurs defender Edita Dobreva passed across her own penalty area into the path of Wicky Balawender, who gratefully accepted the gift and netted.
Spurs had an opportunity when a Lauren Baker pass released Olga Ocran, who shot wide.
Referee Andy Kowalski sensibly handled a flare up after a foul on Spurs’ Tiyanna Lewis.
Spurs registered a consolation goal in added time, through Sophie Barnes, who converted a penalty, awarded for a foul. This was virtually the last kick of the match.
Once more the match officiating was of a very high standard.
FINAL SCORE: QUEENS PARK RANGERS 2 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1
Queens Park Rangers: Lucie White, Merie Redhead Ling, Zoe Staniford, Kayleigh Richardson Taylor, Lily Last, Amber Dredge, Anna-Maria Dzyadyk (capt), Emily Foss, Wicky Balawender, Wiktoria Cznary-Boyanowicz and Alexander Popper.
Substitutes: (repeat substitutions were used) Esther Morenike Ojo, Daisy Baronowski, Lindsay Harris ,Lara Townsend and Megan Harris.
Manager: Ramandeep Dole Assistant Manager: Kasha Petit.
Tottenham Hotspur: Millie Carter, Edita Dobreva, Cerys Heard, Mayzee Seymour, Lauren Baker, Sophie Moran, Sophie Barnes, Tiyanna Lewis (capt), Rebekah Akindayini, Alex Roye- Banton and Olga Ocran.
Substitutes: Sophie Edwards, Sophie Hewitt, Phoebe Prince and Carys Reid.
Manager: Rozana Leacock Assistant Manager: Romaine Lewis.
Referee: Andy Kowalski Assistant Referees: Clare March and Jawahir Roble Fourth Official: Keith Hiller.
Joint Guests of Honour, Tony Julien and John Taylor, Chairmen of the AFA and Middlesex FA respectively, were introduced to the teams before each game and presented the trophies and mementoes at their conclusion.
The attendance for the day’s events numbered 426.
Our thanks are given to Bedfont Sports FC for the use of their superb ground and for their excellent hospitality.
Photos from each of the games are available below courtesy of Jimmy Heavey.
Capital Girls' Cup U12 photos
Capital Girls' Cup U14 photos
Capital Girls' Cup U16 photos