County U13 Girls' Cup Final 2024

Comeback Queens: Stamford AFC Young Daniels Crowned 2024 County U13 Girls' Cup Champions

Steve Gaunt's side won their second consecutive County Cup in a dramatic 3-2 victory against Cleethorpes Town Girls U13 Tilletts

Stamford AFC Young Daniels U13 Girls have been crowned the 2024 Lincolnshire FA County U13 Girls' Cup champions after a dramatic 3-2 win at Sleaford Town's MKM Ground.

Steve Gaunt's side managed to turn around a 2-0 deficit in the first of three Super Sunday fixtures last Sunday, narrowly seeing out Lauren Baumber's Cleethorpes Town Girls U13 Tilletts. 

Stamford began the game as the stronger and more threatening of the two sides, with Kitty Connery getting the opening shot off of the game, though this was comfortably dealt with by the Cleethorpes keeper - Layla Rendall. Maisie Edwards soon followed this up with a cut back to Kitty Connery who got a shot off, though the effort was blocked by Ruby Parker and cleared away. County U13 Girls' Cup Final 2024

It wasn't long before Cleethorpes Town took the lead, completely against the run of play, through a Lily Stennett effort after she capitalised on a loose ball in the Stamford final third and buried the ball into the back of the net. Stamford aimed to respond quickly though, and Maisie Edwards worked herself into a fantastic area before rattling the bar in a bid to find the top left corner of the Cleethorpes goal.

Cleethorpes then struck a second blow, just minutes after their opener, after a free kick was floated into the box and the unmarked Chloe Waite met it and drilled a shot that found the back of the Stamford net. Now two goals to the good, Cleethorpes were in the driving seat and had left Stamford with an awful lot of work to do. 

Maisie Edwards was the standout player for Stamford in the first half, first delivering a great throw into the Owls' area that was to the feet of Nell Atkins who's subsequent shot was collected by the keeper, and then getting on the end of crosses and through balls - but unable to find a breakthrough. Despite Edwards' best efforts, Cleethorpes held strong and continued to shut out Stamford's number 27 and the first half ended with the Owls holding on to their two goal lead.

Just minutes into the second half though, Stamford pulled one back through Cassidy Thornton's low driven cross that was initially caught by Layla Rendall, but slipped out of her hands and Florence Swift was soon on hand to tap the ball into the back of the net. It wasn't long before the Young Daniels had the ball in the back of the net again, but this time it was chalked off due to a foul on the keeper in the build up. 

Minutes later though, Referee Ed Figg pointed to the spot after a Young Daniels attacker was brought down just inside the Cleethorpes box. Florence Swift wasted no time in stepping up to take the spot kick, and buried her effort emphatically into the bottom right corner and levelled the game up again. 

Just five minutes later, Stamford completed their comeback and turned the game on its head when a free kick was curled into the box, and the deflected ball fell to the feet of Nell Atkins who hammered it home and gave the Young Daniels the lead for the first time in the game. Cleethorpes fought with all their might to find a late equaliser, coming agonisingly close through Chloe Waite's shot that rolled narrowly wide of the post, but time ran out for the Owls and Stamford AFC Young Daniels U13 Girls were crowned the County Cup champions for the second year in a row.County U13 Girls' Cup Final 2024

Immense credit goes to Cleethorpes Town Girls though, as despite the heartbreak of missing out on a County Cup title, they gave three cheers to Stamford during the presentation ceremony, the parents baked cakes for players and County FA staff, and they left the changing rooms in immaculate condition for the next final of the day. A special thank you goes to Cleethorpes Town for this fantastic display of sportsmanship and respect. 

Steve Gaunt, Manager of Stamford AFC Young Daniels U13 Girls, said: "It's a fantastic achievement! The feeling is a sense of overwhelming pride really. They've done such a good job to get here, they've worked so hard, and it was such a difficult game too. I'm really pleased for all of them. We got in the changing rooms at half time and said to just stay calm and play their football, do what they do best. That's all we said, there was nothing tactically brilliant and they just came out and did a brilliant job.

Cleethorpes were awesome today. We knew it was going to be a really tough test, to be honest we didn't think we'd go 2-0 down in the first 15 minutes, but they really put a lot of pressure on us and it was a really tough test for us today".

Niamh MacPhee was presented with the Player of the Match award by Lincolnshire FA's Football Development Officer (Women & Girls), Kirsty Dixon, and the Match Officials were Ed Figg, Liberty Hartshorne, Lexie McAteer, and Kai Yarsley.County U13 Girls' Cup Final 2024County U13 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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