U16 Midlands Inter County Cup for Girls
UNDER 16 NOTTINGHAMSHIRE GIRLS’ SQUAD COMPLETE A ‘DOUBLE’
Nottinghamshire U16 Girls 2 v 1 Staffordshire U16 Girls
The 2013-14 season proved an historic one for the Nottinghamshire Girls Squad when they added the Midland Counties title to their success at national level in March to complete a memorable ‘double’ when they defeated Staffordshire at the excellent Poplars Sports Ground in Burton Joyce on Friday.
Nottinghamshire had won the eastern group of the competition thanks to three wins and a draw against Derbyshire and Lincolnshire and then defeated Worcestershire 10-0 in a one-sided semi-final. Staffordshire won the western group league to reach the final. On a warm evening and on a good surface, Staffordshire shocked the undefeated Nottinghamshire side by taking an early lead when goalkeeper Olivia Walker conceded a needless corner which was swung in and appeared to be over the line when it was pushed out by Walker but England Schools’ player, Millie Elson made sure with her close range shot.
Staffordshire created several problems for the Nottinghamshire defence but received a blow when Elson had to leave the field with a damaged shoulder after a collision which necessitated a hospital visit. Nottinghamhire were still under pressure and it took a fine block from Cala Thornton to prevent a second goal for the visitors.
Gradually, the home side got back into the game and twice went close to scoring an equaliser from dead ball situations. First captain Charlotte Steggles met an Alina Tebbutt corner but the ball was deflected just wide of the far post and then Steggles was again unfortunate when her header from another corner hit the post and then drifted wide.
Nottinghamshire had been surprised by the skill and commitment of Staffordshire but improved after the interval when they dominated the game but did not take their chances, too often shooting from long range. Their best chance of equalizing seemed to be from free-kicks using the height of Steggles who came up from defence for every one. Ellie Brazil took one of these from the left but shot just over before Thornton curled in another, which was met by Steggles and the loose ball fell to Brazil evede very tight marking to hit a fine volley into the back of the net.
Staffordshire continued to show commendable defensive skills particularly Holly Gibson at left back and central defenders Ria Elsmore and Lucy Marshall and their battling spirit kept Notts at bay. As Staffordshire tired, Notts created some good chances, particularly when a good run down the right from Bethan Bough was continued by Brazil and her cross found Zoe Gretton at the far post but she shot just over. Then substitute Alan Crawford’s pace took her clear down the left but her cross evaded the advancing forwards.
Staffordshire seldom broke out but with the score at 1-1 there was always a risk of them catching Notts on the break and scoring a late winner but the defence kept their discipline the Nottinghamshire pressure was rewarded when a couple of minutes before the end of normal time, another free-kick on the left was swung in and bundled in for the winning goal by Charlotte Steggles. This was a fitting and deserved end to two years of excellent performances from this season’s captain of the Nottinghamshire squad.
The squad’s victory left them undefeated during the season as the record shows :
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE SCHOOLS’ F.A. UNDER 16 GIRLS RECORD, 2013-2014 SEASON
v. Worcestershire (Friendly) A 3-1 Plumptre, Brazil, Crawford
v. Derbyshire (Midlands Eastern Group) A 3-1 Brazil, Elliott, Tebbutt
v. Lincolnshire (Midlands Eastern group)H 3-3 Steggles, Elliott, Gretton
Won the group and qualified for the English Schools’ F.A. County Championship
v. Lancashire (National quarter-final) H 3-1 Plumptre. Elliott, o.g.
v. Greater Manchester(National semi-final) A 2-2 (Notts won 7-6 on penalties) Brazil (2)
v. ESSEX (National Final) Ricoh Arena, Coventry 1-0 Tebbutt
v. Lincolnshire (Midlands Eastern group) A 3-1 Brazil(2), James
v. Derbyshire (Midlands Eastern group) H 1-0 Brazil
v. Worcestershire (Midlands semi-final) H 10-0 Brazil (4), James (2), Gretton, Steggles, Crosby, Crawford.
v . STAFFORDSHIRE (Midlands Final) H 2-1 Brazil, Steggles
Played 10 Won 9 (1 on penalties) Drawn 1 Lost 0 Goals for 31 Goals against 10
Full Squad : Olivia Walker (Retford Oaks); Natalie Archer (Arnold Hill); Bethan Bough (Arnold Hill); Cala Thornton (Dagfa School), Lucy Belz (South Wolds, Keyworth); Holly Chalmers (Carlton-le-Willows); Charlotte Steggles (Sherwood Academy); Molly Higgins (Trinity); Esme Crosby (Arnold Hill); Alina Tebbutt (Becket); Kelsie James (Toothill, Bingham); Ellie Brazil (Rushcliffe); Ashleigh Plumptre (Becket); Tiffany Elliott (Sherwood Academy); Zoe Gretton (West Bridgford); Alana Crawford (Sherwood Academy); Leia Ward (National); Emily Moules (West Bridgford)
U16 Girls National Final
Nottinghamshire U16 Girls 1 v o Essex U16 Girls
The Nottinghamshire Schools’ F.A. Under 16 Girls’ Squad supported by the Nottinghamshire F.A. became Champions of England at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Saturday when they defeated Essex 1-0 in the National Final of the English Schools’ F.A. Under 16 County Championship. This was a first ever success at national level for the Girls’ Squad which had previously reached the semi-final on four occasions, in three of which they had lost on penalties.
A stunning strike from winger Alina Tebbutt put Nottinghamshire ahead after 28 minutes after a long clearance from captain Charlotte Steggles saw two Essex players and Ellie Brazil challenge for the ball on the edge of the penalty box and when it dropped, Brazil laid it back to Tebbutt who hit the ball first time into the top corner of the empty net.
Notts nearly scored again early in the second half when Kelsie James’ effort was deflected on to the bar by the Essex keeper In the last 15 minutes, Essex got on top but were thwarted mainly by a superb display from the Nottinghamshire keeper, Olivia Walker and great defending especially from Charlotte Steggles and Cala Thornton well supported by Holly Chambers and Lucy Belz and the midfield players.
Notts held on to take the Cup after a performance in which the excellent team spirit was apparent and all members of the squad contributed to an historic victory. The Cup was presented to captain Charlotte Steggles by the Chairman of the English Schools’ Football Associaton, Dave Woolaston and it was a happy party of girls and supporters who returned to Nottingham.