Sunday May 12th, 2013
Girls Centre of Excellence National U17 Youth Cup – Final
Arsenal 3 – 1 Blackburn Rovers
Rovers' Centre of Excellence Under-17 side did themselves proud despite a 3-1 loss to Arsenal in the final of the Girls National Youth Cup on Sunday.
For the first time in the history of the Youth Cup a side form the north of England reached the final hosted at stadiumMK home of MK Dons, and whilst Rovers certainly played their part, individual errors proved costly.
Against an Arsenal side who had won all twelve of their league games this season, Rovers started brightly, Keira Walsh, a regular for England's Under-17s, firing narrowly wide.
However an individual error on nine minutes saw the visitors take the lead. Arsenal forward Carla Humphries capitalising on a heavy touch to fire home.
Boosted by taking the lead Arsenal were soon awarded a penalty after a mis-timed tackle in the box, Humphries making no mistake from the spot for her second of the game.
With ten seconds remaining of the half Rovers shot themselves in the foot again by conceding a third goal meaning a cup final hat-trick for the Arsenal forward.
In the second half Rovers gave a valiant effort in chasing the game and dominated in both possession and territory, coming close to reducing the score with a number of shots from distance.
Their loyal following was eventually rewarded when striker Rio Hardy continued her goal scoring sequence in the cup with a finish into the top corner.
Blackburn pushed forward but the Arsenal defence stood resilient to hold out for a 3-1 cup victory.
"The girl’s effort, commitment and focus could not be questioned," said coach Matt Johnson.
"Football is a cruel game and despite a good team performance we paid for our errors. Hopefully the girls will learn from the great experience and come back stronger next season. The management and club are proud of all the girls."
Squad: Mountain, S.Hardy, Seed (capt), Godfrey, Mallett, Musker, Holland, Doze, Walsh, Adams, R.Hardy, Yallop, Ratcliffe, Williamson, Brannigan, Chandarana, Lambe.