County U12 Girls' Cup Final 2024

Stamford AFC Young Daniels Crowned 2024 County U12 Girls' Cup Champions

Matthew Wilkinson's side clinched the County Cup crown in a dramatic penalty shootout at Sleaford Town

Stamford AFC Young Daniels U12 Girls have been crowned the 2024 Lincolnshire FA County U12 Girls' Cup champions after a nail-biting and dramatic game that ended with a penalty shootout.

Matthew Wilkinson's side secured the title in dramatic style as they took the title with a 5-3 victory on penalties against Grimsby Borough (Ladies) U12 Girls at Sleaford Town's MKM Ground.

The game was a cagey affair from the get-go, with Sienna Smeich being the first to cause the opposition keeper into action. Her curling corner forced Stamford's April Dennison into a save, which she caught calmly at the near post. Grimsby continued to apply the early pressure, with attempts from Isla Cooper and Daisy Stephenson forcing Stamford to defend the danger, but the Young Daniels did enough to avert the threat. County U12 Girls' Cup Final 2024

Esme Thorp provided the first attacking threat for Stamford, as she picked the ball up on the edge of the Grimsby box and got a shot away. Aimee Watkinson was there to deflect the effort behind for a corner though, which was subsequently seen away by Borough. Gabi Shaw soon tried her luck a few minutes later for the Young Daniels, but her effort fizzed narrowly wide of the bottom right corner. 

Martina Llames Amores looked to be clear through with the Grimsby keeper, Evie Wells, a few moments later - but was soon denied the chance to get a shot away with the presence of an offside flag. At the other end of the pitch, April Dennison was forced into a save and the ball rose up and dropped into a dangerous area, but Stamford were able to clear away. The first half came with neither side able to break the deadlock.

Martina Llames Amores looked an early danger for Stamford early on in the second half, as her fantastic footwork saw her push down the left wing before Grimsby Borough's resilient defence saw away the threat. Mabel Swift came agonisingly close to an opener for Stamford a few minutes later, but her shot was narrowly wide of the top corner.

The second half continued with a similar pattern to the first, with neither side able to create much in the way of clear cut chances and so efforts from distance were the only attempts on goal either side could make, but none enough to really force either keeper into too much work. The second half concluded with the game still even, and Extra Time also followed a similar pattern of little in the way of chances. A dramatic penalty shootout was soon to follow.

The shootout saw excellently and calmly taken spot kicks, with Stamford and Grimsby Borough not showing any real signs of faltering. Stamford scored all four of their first spot kicks, before Grimsby Borough unluckily hit the post to give the Young Daniels a chance to snatch the trophy. Jasmine Wilkinson stepped up and buried her penalty to crown Stamford AFC Young Daniels the 2024 County U12 Girls' Cup champions. County U12 Girls' Cup Final 2024

Matthew Wilkinson, Manager of Stamford AFC Young Daniels U12 Girls, said: "It was such a close game, with two really good teams. No goals and not a huge amount of chances, and of course meaning we needed penalties which is always a bit of a trauma. But I'm really relieved and really happy for the girls. It was very much a midfield battle and at some points we were winning that battle, and some points were losing it. But we worked really hard, and I thought Grimsby actually had the edge on us in the first half. Second half we made it a bit more competitive, but still the chances didn't necessarily come. 

It's always difficult and penalties is a horrid way to miss out, but obviously we're pleased that we've come out on top in that particular battle".

Mabel Swift was presented the Player of the Match award from Lincolnshire FA's Football Development Officer (Women & Girls), Kirsty Dixon, and the Match Officials were Matthew Mantle, William Parker, Dylan Andrew, and Owen Johnson. County U12 Girls' Cup Final 2024County U12 Girls' Cup Final 2024







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

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