By Martin Lee of BSYFC
When the Bradley Stoke Youth FC (BSYFC) U14 Girls entered the early rounds of the Gloucestershire FA (GFA) County Cup way back in October 2015, no-one expected that they would be announcing they would be playing in the final on 13th March 2016.
In the early rounds, the team managed to avoid any pitfalls and qualified without too much trouble for the quarter-final stages in November, where they were unfortunate to get drawn against the unbeaten Cheltenham Spa Blues team who were sitting top of the Gloucester County U14 League with a proud record of played 12, won 11 and drawn 1 for the season. But at least BSYFC did have home advantage for the match.
So on 8th November the quarter-final was played with the BSYFC girls fearing the worst playing against one of the favourites. The early signs were not good as the Cheltenham Spa team were 3-0 up after just 20 minutes. But then football is a funny game and you just never know what may happen, and so the comeback began, with BSYFC getting a goal back through Libby Hunt, then another with an own goal and then just before half-time the equalising goal was scored by Libby Hunt again to make the match all square at 3-3.
Could this be one of the great turnarounds that makes cup football so exciting? The second-half started just like the first-half had finished with BSYFC on top and pressing for more goals. BSYFC got their reward and they scored another three goals in the second half through Amber Lewis, Emily Holbrook and Cassie Whittle to win through to the semi- finals with an unbelievable fightback to win 6-3.
There was a wait until the team discovered they had been drawn against another team from the Gloucester County League in the form of Bishops Cleeve Colts, with the semi-final match to be played on 7th February and another home match for BSYFC.
Nothing is straight forward in football and the weather was so bad during November, December and January that when BSYFC arrived at the semi-final match in February the team had played their last match way back in early December and all matches since had been postponed. Worse still, BSYFC could not play at home as the pitch was still too wet. But you have to carry on, which the team did, but would they be lacking match fitness due to the long lay-off? The match was played in terrible conditions with a high wind blowing end to end down the pitch and the rain coming down at certain stages of the match. BSYFC played with the wind in the first-half and tried to press home this advantage as best they could. The team managed to score three goals in the first-half from Molly Bose, Libby Hunt and Emily Holbrook. Would this be enough, as the team would have to battle against the elements as well in the second half?
The team stood strong and defended for all their worth, but a long range wind-assisted shot managed to go in and then, late on, another goal was conceded to make the score 3-2. There were chances at either end, but the team held on to gain the win and secure a place in the cup final.
The management team would like to thank the girls for their great performances in all the rounds and praise them for getting through to the cup final. The club would welcome any support at the final on Sunday 13th March and everyone is welcome to attend.
The same squad reached the League Cup Final last year and were narrowly beaten in a close final 1-0 with a last minute goal. So fingers crossed the team can go one better in the GFA County Cup Final. The managers, having got to two cup finals in two years with the team, are hoping their jobs will be safe for next season!
The BSYFC Girls will face AEK Boco U14 Girls in the cup final. Kick-off is at 3pm on Sunday 13th March on the 3G pitch at:
The BSYFC U14 Girls squad is as follows (note that the name list is not intended to match the photo): Emily Holbrook (capt), Faye Wyatt, Morgan Spill, Libby Hunt, Erin Hodson, Charlotte Mason, Aimee Hancock, Molly Bose, Katie Jones, Cassie Whittle, Amber Lewis, Emily Razey, Amber Barley, Abbie Pickett, Amelia Roff, Sarah Challis, Rebecca Humphrey, Sophie Robertson, Danielle Devonshire. Managers: Martin Lee and Ross Lee
This article originally appeared in the March 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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