County Women's Cup

On Cloud Nine: Lincoln United Crowned 2024 County Women's Cup Champions

The Whites retain their title following a 9-0 win against Stamford AFC Women

Lincoln United have retained their title and won the 2024 County Women's Cup following a 9-0 victory against Stamford AFC Women at Boston United's Jakemans Community Stadium.

Chris Funnell's side were crowned 2024 champions in front of a 269-strong crowd at the home of the Pilgrims, after beating Lincoln United Women's Development and Lincoln City Women on their journey to the title. The title also means that Funnell becomes part of an incredibly exclusive group - one of the only every managers to win County Cups with both a Men's and Women's first team in the same season. County Women's Cup

It took just 3 minutes for Lincoln United to take the lead after Alice Hayes chested the ball down inside the Stamford 6 yard box, volleyed an effort towards goal and her deflected shot found its way into the top right corner. The Whites pushed hard for a second as Lauren Churcher and Ellie Gilliatt linked up beautifully before Churcher fired a shot at the Young Daniels target from just outside the 18 yard box, but hitting narrowly wide of the post. Subsequent efforts from Ellie Gilliatt were also shy of the mark.

Stamford AFC began to grow into the game, making life hard for Lincoln United. Lauren Bartle floated a free kick straight down the throat of the Tier 5 side, but her delivery wasn't able to met by a Stamford attacker. This began a barrage of half chances into dangerous areas for Stamford, with Olivia Smith's delivery being nodded just wide of the Lincoln goal. Zina Cheikh also made fantastic and dangerous darting runs from the left wing into the United box, but despite her best efforts - was denied by Lincoln United's resilient back line. 

Stamford continued to apply pressure, but weren't able to find a way past the brick wall of Amy Hood between the sticks. It wasn't long before heroic saves were being made at the other end of the pitch though, as Lily Cooke denied Alice Hayes from getting both hers and Lincoln United's second. Just a few minutes later, Kiera Swanson made a fantastic challenge to deny Ellie Gilliatt - who was through one on one with the Stamford keeper. County Women's Cup

The Stamford wall was eventually broken though, as an Olivia Smith corner was whipped into the box and met with a Stamford header that deflected off the back of Rebecca Ward and fell neatly to the feet of Amy Kay who had little to do other than poke the ball into the back of the net and double Lincoln's lead. It wasn't long before the half time whistle blew and we headed into the break at 0-2.

Lincoln United Women wasted no time as we emerged for the second half, and found themselves 3 to the good after 56 minutes following Ellie Gilliatt's inspired run to the edge of the box before drilling a cross into a dangerous area, subsequently met with the head of Rebecca Ward who nodded into the back of the net. Just 5 minutes later, Gilliatt was brought down in the Stamford box to win her side a penalty - of which she calmly slotted home to give the Whites their 4th of the evening. 

A now dominant second half performance was ramping up from the 2023 champions as the found themselves 5-0 up a matter of minutes after Gilliatt's spot kick. This time it was Annie Ward to head home, nodding over Lily Cooke. Gilliatt continued to cause problems for the Young Daniels, bagging her 2nd and Lincoln's 6th after a fantastic movement that saw her into space inside the box before rocketing a shot into the roof of the net. The number 10 soon secured her hat trick 6 minutes later, after neatly placing a shot into the bottom right corner. 

Rebecca Ward's two late goals secured a second hat trick of the game and bagged United's 8th and 9th goals in the closing minutes of the game. The full time whistle blew to draw a close on a spectacular performance from Lincoln United, and one that Stamford can still hold their heads high from after continuing to fight and push up the pitch to the end. County Women's Cup

Ellie Gilliatt, who was awarded as Player of the Match, said: "It's great to retain the title, we worked hard. To be fair to Stamford, they were the better team in the first 30 minutes, and they worked really really hard throughout the game. They didn't let up and they didn't make it easy for us. I know the score line was heavy, but congratulations to them on reaching their first Final. For us, as a collective, we keep going and we've got a lot of goals left to achieve for the rest of this season.

It's massive for the club. We have a good foundation with the younger girls and we've always had a dominant team in Lincoln so it's nice for the underdogs to come through and for the young girls to see that. It provides a foundation for them to build from as well."

Katie Davison, Assistant Manager for Lincoln United Women, said: "I'm elated that we got to lift the trophy again! I wasn't too sure we would to be honest in the opening 30 minutes, it was probably one of the poorest performances we've had all season! No disrespect to Stamford at all, they worked extremely hard and pressed us tight, and had some opportunities themselves. But we grew into the game, second half we were absolutely relentless and really put a lot of pressure on them and got the fully deserved victory in the end.

We knew Stamford were going to come out all guns blazing, and why not? They had nothing to lose, they worked really hard and passed the ball really well - much better than we did in the first 30 minutes. They created some half chances, nothing too much to really threaten us but we felt that threat was there, especially in the wide areas. But we eventually found the gaps and bagged a few."

Ellie Gilliatt was presented as the Player of the Match by the Chair of Lincolnshire FA, Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, and the Match Officials were Joanne Mackenzie, Lee Crawford, Sarah Grundy, and Richard Gutsell. 

County Women's Cup

County Women's CupThe full image gallery, taken by Lincolnshire FA's Official Photographer - Ed Mayes Photography - can be viewed here.

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