This season’s Middlesex FA Gill Taylor Under 18 Cup final, between Watford Ladies Youth Hornets and Fulham Women, took place on Thursday, 13th April, at Bedfont Sports FC’s impressive stadium. Middlesex FA broke new ground last season with the introduction of this cup competition for its under 18 girls’ teams. The first winners were London City Lionesses, who beat Ruislip Rangers 2-1 in the final. 7 teams entered last season.
Disappointedly, the new competition has struggled to gain credibility. The entry was again just 7 clubs this season and the subsequent late withdrawal of two of them, Barnet Nightingales U17 and Kings Youth, presented Watford with a place in the final, without having to play a match.
Fulham qualified for the final by overcoming Harefield United Youth Girls 9-0 (away) in the quarter-final and Actonians Girls U17 19-0 (at home) in the semi-final.
Watford Ladies Youth Hornets were founded in 1970 and currently play in the Hertfordshire Girls Partnership League. Fulham were newly formed this season as part of the club’s development programme and play in the Junior Premier League Warriors Competition.
After an evenly contested first 15 minutes, Fulham took control of the match and lead 2-0 at the interval. They added three more goals in the second half to finish 5-0 victors. Although they were outplayed, Watford must be commended for their spirited resistance and sporting attitude.
A promising Fulham move in the 17th minute gave an indication of what was to come. A good run by Ruby Murtagh was completed by a pass to Milla Lewis, who set up Chloe Connelly. Chloe’s shot was just wide of the post.
A series of Fulham attacks followed. Ruby Murtagh’s long freekick into the Watford goalmouth was cleared. Ela Raka was held and Milla Lewis found Ilana Harris-Walters with the subsequent freekick from around 30 yards out. Ilana moved the ball on to Ela, whose shot was blocked.
Ruby Murtagh advances on the Watford goal...
Ruby Murtagh put Fulham ahead in the 24th minute. She collected Rosa Norman’s through ball, took it on and slipped it past the advancing Watford keeper, Abigail Coles.
...and puts Fulham 1-0 ahead
Ruby then beat several opponents before her finishing shot was fielded by Abigail.
Ruby and Milla Lewis, in particular, were putting the Watford defence under considerable pressure and Abigail Coles was kept busy. She took a dangerous high cross from Milla off of Ruby’s head.
Abigail Coles pushes Lola Almendros' corner out
Ruby’s attempted shot was blocked at the moment of contact and produced a corner. Abigail pushed a corner from Lola Almendros off of her goal-line.
Abigail then dealt with a long well struck freekick from Lola, by parrying it and then catching the ball.
Ela Raka doubled Fulham’s lead in the 39th minute, with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
A good cross by Milla Lewis found Chloe Connelly, who shot wide. A quick passing movement between Milla and Lola almost released Ruby, who was thwarted by a defender.
Eva Baana shot wide for Watford in an isolated attack.
Abigail Coles saves from Roza Klincewicx (far right)
Abigail saved at close range from Roza Klincewicz.
Half time score: Watford Ladies Youth Hornets 0 Fulham Women 2
A freekick on the left released Milla Lewis, whose high shot was saved by Abigail. Then Abigail saved at Milla’s feet, after the latter had been set up by Chloe Connelly.
In the 56th minute, Ruby Murtagh collected Lola Almendros’s through ball and netted her second and Fulham’s third goal of the evening.
...and puts Fulham 3-0 ahead
Unfortunately, Ruby was injured in the process and had to retire from the action.
Nevertheless, Fulham continued to dominate the game. Ilana Harris-Walters took the ball past an opponent before setting up Chloe, who forced a corner. Abigail saved well from Lola and then bravely took the ball at Zahira Glanville’s feet.
Abigail Coles makes a great save from Ilana Harris-Walters (3)
In the 68th minute, Abigail made a great save from Ilana at the expense of a corner. However, Roza Klincewicz netted at close range from the corner. to make the score 4-0.
Roza Klincewicz (14) nets Fulham's fourth goal from close range
Abigail held a long shot from Rhea Crawford and then saved from Dulcie Gray, who had been put through by Rosa Norman.
A Watford freekick from the left, taken Ella Newton was successfully defended by Fulham.
Back at the other end, Abigail Coles tipped a shot from around 25 yards by Lola Almendros over her crossbar. Dulcie Gray made one of several dangerous runs up the right but her cross was scrambled away. Zahira Glanville shaved the crossbar with her shot, after being released by Ilana Harris-Walters.
Ilana Harris-Walters (3) hits Fulham's fifth goal
Ilana added Fulham’s 5th goal, in the second minute of added time, with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Final Score: Watford Ladies Youth Hornets 0 Fulham Women 5
The match was well handled by referee Barry Berndes with good support from his team.
Gill Taylor, the Chair of the Middlesex FA Women & Girls Committee, who was fittingly the Guest of Honour for this final, was introduced to both teams and to the match officials before the kick off and presented the Cup and mementoes after the game. Gill chose influential Fulham midfielder, Dulcie Gray, as player of the match.
Our grateful thanks are given to Bedfont Sports FC, for putting their excellent facilities at our disposal and for their hospitality throughout the evening.
Watford Ladies Youth Hornets: Abigail Coles, Amy Hawkes, India Dowse, Daisy Laing (capt), Phillipa Walker, Roma Guerra, Jess Stevens, Izzy Horgan, Sofia Maltese, Eva Baana and Simi Saggar.
Rolling substitutes: Fatimah Latif, Ella Newton and Lucy Watts.
Manager: Roberto Bowerman Coaches: Paul Moloney, Annette Newton and Daniele Denyer.
Fulham Women: Holly Cowan, Rosa Norman (capt), Zoe Walters, Roza Klincewicz, Milla Lewis, Ilana Harris-Walters, Ela Raka, Lola Almendros, Dulcie Gray, Chloe Connelly and Ruby Murtagh.
Rolling substitutes: Mary Guiriedulou, Sylvie Ivimey, Rhea Crawford, Zahirs Glanville and Marni Humphries.
Manager: Jodie Williams Assistant Manager: Nicola Brown Coaches: Steve Jaye and Amber Beackon Physio: Chloe Dodd.
Referee: Barry Berndes Assistant Referees: Sarah Day and Beverley Adebaye Fourth Official : Noga Meyer.
We thank Chris & Jim for their time covering this final, they have selected their favourite shots of the game, and Chris has kindly provided a full album of imagery from the match.
Chris & Jim's Picks
Full Album Courtesy of Chris Benn
Photography - Chris Benn