A combined team group


Jim Taylor

Following the growth of the girls’ game in recent seasons, Middlesex FA  decided to re-introduce their own girls’ cup competitions, to replace the Capital Girls’ Cups, which spanned several County FAs.  We staged all four of the finals at our Rectory Park HQ on Saturday, 7th May, starting with the Under 12 match between Queens Park Rangers Women U12 and London Bees U12.

The pre-match presentations

17 teams entered this cup.

Queens Park Rangers had a bye in round 1 and then reached the final by beating Isleworthians Youth 5-0 away in round 2, Ruislip Rangers Clarets 4-1 away in the quarter final and Pitshanger Red 4-0 at home in the semi-final.

London Bees also had a bye in round 1 and then accounted for St Albans City Youth Central 5-0 at home in round 2 and Denham United in the semi-final.  They had received a walk-over against Ruislip Rangers in the quarter-final.

QPR play in the Middlesex Youth League and London Bees in the Junior Premier League.

Matches in this cup are 9 a side and played over 30 minutes each half.  

We began our finals day in rather unfavourable conditions as much of this opening match was played in heavy rain.  A lively and interesting tussle helped to take everyone’s minds off of the weather.  London Bees scored in the first half and QPR equalised in the second.  There was no further scoring, so we moved on to a penalty-shoot out to decide the destination of the trophy.   The standard of penalty kicks was very good.  The first 7 kicks were successful before the 8th, taken by QPR hit a post.  London Bees then converted the 9th kick to win 5-3.

The preliminaries

The first of the relatively few shots on goal, in an evenly contested first half, came from Bees’ Heidi Bekteshi and was well saved by QPR keeper, Grace Cooke.

Amelie Bowman shoots...

London Bees went ahead in the 12th minute through a cross shot from their influential captain, Amelie Bowman.

...and puts Bees a goal ahead...

...and receives the congratulations

QPR’s Olive Mitchell was brought down just outside the penalty area.   The resulting free kick, taken by Kara McCormack was saved high up by Bees’ keeper, Sophia Marshall.

Sophie Marshall saves Kara McCormack's free kick

Bees’ Carlotta Debor made a good goal-saving clearance to thwart Blossom Tanswell.

Score at half time: Queens Park Rangers 0   London Bees 1

Shots on goal became more frequent as the second half progressed.   A goal-bound effort from Bees’ Heidi Bekteshi was blocked by a defender.

Bees’ keeper, Sophia Marshall saved well from QPR captain, Olive Mitchell.

A long shot by Heidi Bekteshi just missed QPR’s far post.

Olive Mitchell (14) scores QPR's equaliser from a free kick

Olive Mitchell equalised for QPR from a free kick in the 42nd minute.  Then a shot from Ines Bailey just cleared the Bees’ bar.

Ines Bailey's shot clears the Bees bar

Heidi Bekteshi displayed some fine footwork and then tested QPR’s Grace Cooke with her finishing shot.

Grace Cooke made another good save from Matilda Jackson’s angled strike.

QPR’s striker, Ayah Chebila tested Sophia Marshall with a high shot.

A low long-range effort, from Bees’ Leona Kikaj, hit an upright and went behind for a goal-kick.

Finally, Olive Mitchell ran through the middle of the Bees defence but cleared the bar with her shot.

Score after 60 minutes: Queens Park Rangers 1   London Bees 1

London Bees went first in the penalty shoot-out.  

The first pair of penalty takers, Amelie Bowman and Ayah Chebila, were both successful.

The second pair, Daisy-May Bird and Gabriela Majewska, both converted their shots.

The third pair, Evie Rose and Jasmine Bailey, were also both successful.

Charlotte Wake hits the post with her penalty

Heidi Bekteshi converted London Bees 4th shot but QPR’s Charlotte Wake struck an upright with her kick.

Aamina Gardiner converts the winning penalty...

Aamina Gardiner then netted her side’s 5th kick to secure the cup for London Bees.

...and rushes to receive the congratulations

Result of penalty shoot-out: London Bees 5   Queens Park Rangers 3

The winners with the cup

Referee Shelley Howard had a very good match.  She dealt with the events which occurred during the game in a firm yet sympathetic manner.  Shelley should have a bright future as a match official.   She was well supported by her assistant referees, Isabelle Wong and Amelia Kyriakides and by the fourth official, Surekha Griffiths.

The Guest of Honour was Elsa Jones, who was the FA & McDonald’s Rising Star of the Year 2020, in recognition of her multi-activities at Hanwell Town FC.   Elsa was presented to the teams and match officials before the game and presented the cup and individual mementoes afterwards.  She chose London Bees midfielder, Amelie Bowman as player of the match.

The attendance was 157.

Queens Park Rangers: Grace Cooke, Ines Bailey, Jasmine Bailey, Bianca Oliveira, Ayah Chebila, Olive Mitchell (capt), Charlotte Wake, Regan Allford and Alice Lindsay.

Rolling substitutes: Maisy Coxhill, Kara McCormack, Liza Cutaj, Gabriela Majewska and Blossom Tanswell.

Manager: Ana Popov   Coach: Harry Higgins 

London Bees: Sophia Marshall, Evie Rose, Carlotta Debor, Grace Reeve, Matilda Jackson, Amelie Bowman (capt), Heidi Bekteshi, Ellie Baker and Daisy-May Bird.

Rolling substitutes: Aliza Caplan, Waris Deria, Leona Kikaj and Aamina Gardiner.

Manager: Sian Hillis   Coach: Dev Bhuptani

As ever we thank both Chris & Jim for joining us to cover this match, as with previous reports, Chris & Jim have selected some of their favourite shots from the match to display across the report. Chris has also very kindly provided a full album of match imagery.

Chris & Jim's Picks

Full Album Courtesy of Chris Benn