U12 Girls Make History With County Cup Final Win!
The Whitehaven AFC U12 Blues made history for Whitehaven AFC today after being the first ever Whitehaven AFC Girls Team to clinch the CFA County Cup whilst also holding the CFA County Futsal Title in the same season which they won earlier in the year before lockdown at the Carlisle Sands Centre.
It was an early start for the young Lionesses, on a crisp almost wintery feel of a morning with frost on the grass, and clear blue skies with just a few wisps of clouds touching the hills in the picturesque distance. A setting perfect to host any Final at the Cumbria Academy Penrith.
As you'd expect the Cumberland FA staff, they were all busy making the Final as perfect as it could be and as safe as it could be under difficult circumstances amid the Covid19 Pandemic.
Spectators in pods, balls placed on cones around the pitch, Premier League style, and all goals disinfected before and after warms up as well as half time, the teams and spectators couldn't feel safer and more relaxed.
The Whitehaven Girls hadn't had the best preparation, losing their amazing keeper Lauren Glynn through a fractured finger and also having knocks to both Molly Blair & Erin “VVD" Duffy meaning both girls been unable to train in readiness. But nothing was going to stop all 3 girls partaking in this wonderful opportunity to play in the what is the Champions League of Youth Football in the County.
The Whitehaven Girls set off well with some good football as both teams felt each other out and got over any prematch nerves. Unisun had some early chances with some dangerous balls over the top from their right hand side down the wing which asked questions of the defence. However the remarkable Millie Clark was always equal to any of these balls and any that did get the better of her she recovered and won the ball back to start attacks, she would go on to be an integral part of the win, showing great leadership at the back.
Aarleah Robertson who normally plays as a little magician in attack and is normally more accustomed to playing a similar role to Messi with lots of cleverness stepped up to the plate and went in goals for the injured Lauren and made a number of good saves, but more importantly using her feet was able to play out very well.
With both teams wrestling for superiority in the game and with the heat of the rising sun warming up both spectators, players and the game as whole both teams showed some very good football. Whitehaven then strung a move with some lovely passing which birthday girl and resident twinkle toes Ella Beadsmoore played in Captain Katie Kegg who netted a fine goal to take the lead on 13mins, 1-0. Katie Kegg who was also carrying a knock was superb all day, in the team for her engine and defensive capabilities she did it magnificently but was also positive going forward and deserved her goal.
Spurred on by this goal the Whitehaven Girls pressed for more and started to create a number of shots with the Unisun keeper making some good saves, but after a switch in players, the Whitehaven Girls other birthday girl in the prolific Layla Rudd moved down the middle as an out and out striker and once again it was twinkle toes Ella Beadsmoore on hand to set up Layla to net on 16mins to make it 2-0.
Erin "VVD" Duffy entered the fray now, and Evie Kerrush pushed forward into attack. Erin just oozes class and never looked fazed at any point being thrown into an intense game as Unisun pressed to get a goal back. Unisun looked most dangerous from corners and balls over the top but Erin when asked was equal to it and on more than one occasion played some quality balls over the top herself in the space in behind.
Half time came and the girls were now looking to impose their will further and try to cement their lead.
Molly Blair now came into central midfield, and she was simply sensational driving the team forward from the heart of the team and on another day could've had a hat trick, with several drives leading to shots which were narrowly missed, but she never stopped and played some beautiful balls to create dangerous chances.
The Whitehaven girls were now bossing territory and making it hard for the Unisun Girls to get out, attacking down both sides. It was Evie Kerrush on the right wing who just looked like a well tuned sports car, powerful, stylish and full of class, playing some sublime passes inside and moving into good areas to get it back, her crosses causing all sorts of problems and a number of very well taken shots, and this pressure then told when she struck a lovely shot to make it 3-0 on the 38th minute.
This kicked the girls on again in same way it did in first half and within minutes Layla Rudd added to her 70+ goals from last season to bag her second of the day.
The Whitehaven team is built on team spirit and not individuals so it was fitting that injured goalkeeper Lauren Glynn who has raring played out of goals in past 2 years was introduced as a striker to include her after she was upset may not play after injury and she nearly netted what would've been a fairy tail goal, she played superb throughout her time on pitch and you could tell from the side all her team mates wanted her on the pitch as she was so crucial to their success this year.
The Unisun Girls were a credit to their club however and never stopped and looked dangerous in final 5-8mins and to their credit grabbed a consultation goal on the final kick of the game.
County Cup Girl of Game was given to Ella Beadsmoore who showed great play throughout, wonderful skills and set up 2 goals as well as creating many chances for the team.
Lead Coach Rob Campbell said 'Firstly I'd like to thank our opponents who gave us a really good game and never let us settle at any point. Secondly I must thank the wonderful officiating team, it was great having such a top team of 4 officials doing a cracking job.
I'd finally like to extend my thanks to the Cumberland FA, in very difficult times they were immense, their hard work and motivation to get the County Cups concluded is amazing and something I won't ever forget as it gave girls who have had a tough time this year a really nice moment to look back on in years to come, the FA simply created memories today, thank you.
On the game I must say I was so impressed with my lasses, after lockdown and getting back and then injuries it wasn't ideal, however they are an incredible bunch of girls who I'm very privileged to coach. I just enjoy watching them play, and would rather spend a Sunday morning watching these great players than watching Liverpool who I support.
They really deserve all the accolades and to be the first Whitehaven team to win both County Cups, both indoor and outdoor is a crazy achievement.
What I must give massive thanks for however is a superb coaching team, Mark Kegg, Paul Greeson & Graham Gill are fantastic people who help me and the girls every session, plus special thanks to Vivienne McKee who looks after us all and keeps the team ticking.
But most of all, if the players win the games on the pitch, it's also largely down to my wonderful parents and guardians of the girls whose support of the girls and coaching team is incredible and id not swap a single one of them'
Full Time Result
Unisun Athletic 1-4 Whitehaven AFC Blues
Layla Rudd - 16 & 39
Katie Kegg - 13
Evie Kerrush - 36
Girl of Game