2024 U16 Girls Cup Final


Jim Taylor

The finals of the Middlesex FA Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 Girls’ Cups were staged on Saturday, 4th May at Rectory Park. The growth of the girls’ game had encouraged us to reintroduce our own girls’ cup competitions in season 2021-22, to replace the Capital Girls’ Cups, which had involved teams from several county FAs. 

Our final match of the day was the Under 16 final, which has recently been named after the day’s Guest of Honour, Middlesex FA Director and Chair of the Competitions Committee, Barbara Bivens. Barbara was introduced to the competing players and the match officials before the kick off.

The Hinton & Finchley Revolution Haringey Girls Academy provided both sides, namely Performance and Elite, for this final.   

Hinton and Finchley Revolution Haringey Girls were the current holders of this cup, having beaten Pitshanger Girls 5-1 in last season’s final at Rectory Park. They have dominated this cup in recent years. They also provided both teams in the final two seasons ago, when their U16 team beat their U15 team 7-2.

28 teams entered this season’s competition.

Performance reached the final by beating Ealing Trailfinders U15 Red 21-0 at home in round 1, Queens Park Rangers Women 4-1 away in round 2, Watford Ladies Youth Warriors in a penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw at home in the quarter-final and London Football Technical Club 3-1 away in the semi-final.

Elite played all of their matches at home and reached the final without conceding a goal. They beat Barnet Nightingale Girls 7-0, Ruislip Rangers Clarets Girls 3-0, Hayes and Yeading United 7-0 and Watford Ladies Youth U15 Warriors 10-0.

Matches in this competition are played over 40 minutes in each half, with rolling substitutions.

The game was keenly fought and evenly balanced, with plenty of goalmouth action. It ended 4-2 in favour of Elite. They went ahead in the 12th minute. Performance equalised 10 minutes later but Elite regained the lead on the stroke of half time. Performance equalised again immediately after the interval. Elite soon regained the lead once more and then, as the second half progressed, took control and clinched victory in added time.

The action moved quickly up and down the pitch. Elite’s Nia Garwood fired narrowly wide. Then Performance’s Lilly Gubby fastened onto a loose ball but her shot was also off target.

In the 12th minute, Yasmin Habbal sped along the wing, cut in and put Elite ahead with a cross-shot.

Yasmine Habbal (12) shoots to put Elite 1-0 ahead

The Elite goalkeeper, Evie Acheamfour-Yeboah made 3 good saves in succession. She dived to save Rebecca Wheatley’s low shot, turned a shot over her crossbar and pushed another effort from Rebecca for a corner.

Evie turns a shot over for a corner

Evie Acheamfour-Yeboah saves from Rebecca Wheatley

Rebecca equalised for Performance in the 22nd minute, after beating Evie to a poor back-pass.

Rebecca Wheatley equalises after beating the keeper to a back pass

Performance keeper, Emma Roberts saved low from Betty Larkin.

In the 35th minute, Betty’s long freekick was headed home by Hayley Che-Mujh, to put Elite back in front.

Hayley Che-Mujh heads home from Betty Larkin's freekick

Half time score: Performance 1   Elite 2

Connie Wakeford converted Lilly Gabby’s long freekick into the box, in the first minute of the second half, to level the scores again.

Connie Wakeford (partly obscured) makes the score 2-2

Emma Roberts touched Erin Radburn’s high shot onto the crossbar.

In the 8th minute of the half, a handling offence in the box, gave skipper Betty Larkin the opportunity to restore Elite’s lead from the penalty spot, which she took with aplomb.

Betty Larkin makes the score 3-2 from the penalty spot

Emma Roberts then saved a drive from Betty Larkin.

Rebecca Wheatley broke down the right for Performance but fired wide.

Melissa Ait Amaara went close, when she connected with Betty Larkin’s freekick into the box.

Elite were now taking charge of the game.  Emma Roberts saved Betty’s close-range header. Erin Radburn headed over the bar from a corner.

Nia Garwood was tripped outside the box, to the left. Betty’s freekick to the back post evaded a waiting queue of team mates.

Betty Larkin's freekick evades her waiting teammates

A close-range header by Yasmin Habbal was well saved by Emma Roberts.

Yasmine Habbal's header is saved by Emma Roberts

Kaya Bamber’s long shot was turned for a corner by Emma Roberts.

Betty Larkin’s long freekick, in added time, floated into the Performance net to seal their victory. 

Betty Larkin's freekick completes the scoring

Final score: Performance 2   Elite 4

Referee, Surekha Griffiths controlled the proceedings admirably, with good support from her team.

Guest of Honour, Barbara Bivens presented the Cup and the individual mementoes after the match. She chose Elite defender, Hayley Che-Mujh as the Player of the Match. 

The winners with the cup


Performance: Emma Roberts, Connie Wakeford, Mia Yeboah, Rhylee Cadwallender, Rebecca Wheatley, Nicol Ospina, Lilly Gubby, Zara Kirstein, Ellie Merkis (capt), Ruby Carrion and Soriya Diya-Sinclair.

Rolling substitute: Leila Hadari

Manager: Mitchell Gubby Coach: Nick Roberts.

Elite: Evie Acheamfour-Yeboah, Kaya Bamba, Yasmin Habbal, Melissa Ait Amaara, Vedhika Walia. Erin Radburn, Asees Sangha, Nia Garwood, Betty Larkin (capt), Aaliyah Qazi and Hayley Che-Mujh.

Rolling substitute: Elisia Huetson-Varnava.

Manager: Steve Larkin Coach: Nick Garwood.

Referee: Surekha Griffiths Assistant Referees: Isabella Wong and Nieve Naughton Fourth Official: Caitlin Cummings.

Report: Jim Taylor

Photography: Chris Benn


Full Set