What better way to celebrate #GirlsFootballWeek then having an all-female disability football team representing Lincolnshire at the FA People’s Cup, hosted at St. Georges Park, National Football Training Centre for all England Football teams.
The FA People’s Cup team, representing Lincolnshire, comprised of four Lincoln Disability FC players and two from Boston United Pilgrims FC.
LDFC: Rosiemary Lloyd, Mel Pykett, Sarah Johnson and Becca Miller.
BUFC: Sarah Lea and Brittany Wiseman-Johnson.
Amy Blinkhorn, a volunteer with LDFC, attended the day to support the ladies as their coach and was able to capture their magical journey in the match reports below as they reached the semi-finals in what was a fantastic day for all involved.
On arrival at the magnificent facility, the squad headed over to the 3G to get a decent warm up in before their first group game.
Match no. 1:
The Lincolnshire team came up against Leicester to kick start their day. The Foxes got off to a good start taking some great shots at Rosie in goal, who had a brilliant game making some incredible saves throughout. Becca showed her passing skills by chipping the ball over perfectly to striker Brittany who was unlucky not to get her first of the day. Sarah from LDFC and Sarah from BUFC both made some crucial tackles to keep us in the game while Mel’s movement off the ball was fantastic as she got herself into some good positions.
Leicester 1 – 0 Lincolnshire
Match no. 2:
Walsall was up next who quickly took a 1-0 lead however Brittany soon bagged her first goal of the day drawing the team’s level. Becca, who was excellent all game, made some well-timed tackles and got well and truly stuck in. BUFC’s Sarah blocked shot after shot. It truly was a great team effort although Walsall found a winner.
Lincolnshire 1 – 2 Walsall
Match no. 3:
The Lincolnshire ladies finished their final group game with a win over Maidstone and the girls were on fire, with shot after shot testing the Maidstone keeper until Brittany found the back of the net sending the ball straight in the top corner. Mel and the whole team kept things nice and tight at the back preventing a Maidstone attack to ensure Lincolnshire saw out the victory.
Lincolnshire 1 – 0 Maidstone
The players and their coach eagerly awaited their fate until it was announced they were through to the quarter-finals.
LDFC player Sarah started the game strong making some awesome tackles denying the opposition a break through. BUFC’s Sarah gave her all for the team clearing shots and crosses. Both teams played some lovely football however the final whistle blew, and it was heading to a penalty shoot-out.
After two penalty misses, a heroic save from Rosie and a winning goal from Becca, the crowd went wild as did Lincolnshire ladies! Semi-finals here we come!
As the team made their way over to the Football Centre, they passed the Emirates FA Cup Trophy and the FA People’s Cup Trophy that they had their eye on. They arrived at the pitch where their coach Amy conducted what would be their final warm up of the day, some possession work to get the players focused.
Lincolnshire made a great start getting a couple of shots on target. The Bradford goalkeeper was exceptional and made some great saves. The passing was fabulous from both teams however it was Bradford who clinched the win.
Bradford 2 – 0 Lincolnshire
The Lincolnshire ladies, through their passion for playing football, displayed a fine performance worthy of reaching the semi-finals of the national competition. All players had a brilliant FA People’s Cup journey of which they will remember forever.
LDFC volunteer, team’s coach for the day Amy Blinkhorn said:
“The FA People’s Cup finals was incredible. All teams were superb too! The girls loved it and said they can’t wait till next year if they are lucky enough to get through again. I was very proud to be a part of the day and to share the amazing experience with the players. To say is was the first competition the girls from Lincoln and Boston had played in together they were fantastic and should be very proud of them. To see how much the experience meant to the players made me feel very honoured to have been part of their SGP experience.”
Michelle Marshall, Disability Football Development Officer at Lincolnshire Football Association said:
“After receiving the news that the Lincolnshire Ladies team had progressed through to the Peoples Cup finals day, all parties involved (me, the rest of the team at Lincolnshire Football Association and the Ability Counts League coaches) wanted to ensure that we was able to allow the ladies the opportunity to compete at the finals day, so a huge thank you has to go to everyone involved in the build-up/ organising and supporting of the team.
To hear that the Ladies reached the Semi-finals on the day is a fantastic achievement and one which the players should be very proud of, knowing they’ve come away being the fourth best female disability team in the country is amazing considering the girls have never played together before.
I’m positive this is just the start of what’s to come and will impact an increase of female disability participation in Lincolnshire in the future.”