On Sunday 6th June 2016 it was the 15th Annual City of York Girls’ Football League Tournament, and the U13s were defending a title they won last year. It was a scorching hot day and the girls had been drawn in a group with 4 of the 5 favourites so progressing from the group stage into the final was going to be hard work. Each game was 10 minutes long with no half time so the games were fast and frantic.
The U13s had entered the following team:
York RI – Denva (c), Alexia, Amber, Lauren, Chloe H, Chloe J, Kimberly, Lucy-Liu, Grace and Katie. Huge thank you to Tegan who dropped out to let Lucy-Liu play in her first ever tournament.
Here is a quick run down on what happened on the day:
Match 1 – York RI 1 (Alexia) – Fulford 0 – The champions of the 9v9 and 7v7 leagues met in the first game, and a repeat of last year’s final. It was settled by a cracking goal from Alexia, her first shot rattled the crossbar but she followed up and hammered home the rebound.
Match 2 – York RI 1 (Chloe J) – Poppleton Tigers 0 – York RI dominated the game and it looked like they were going to have to settle for a draw until late on when Chloe J ran clear from the half way line and hammered past the Poppleton goalkeeper.
Match 3 – York RI 0 – Scarborough Ladies 0 – York RI again created some good chances but couldn’t force the ball past the Scarborough keeper, and had to settle for a draw. In a very close group was this a point won or two dropped?
Match 4 – York RI 4 (Lucy-Liu, Chloe J, Alexia x2) – Stamford Bridge 0 – In a game York RI totally dominated, Lucy-Liu scored her first ever goal for the club, Chloe J scored a great near post volley, and Alexia wrapped up the win with 2 late strikes. Katie asked after the game if she had even touched the ball!
Match 5 – York RI 1 (Alexia) – Brayton Belles 0 – An early strike from Alexia gave York RI the lead and a couple of good saves from Katie late on gave York RI a dominate position in the group. Could they hold on and progress to the final?
Match 6 – York RI 1 (Alexia) – Cottingham Rangers 0 – The final game was to decide who finished top of the group and progressed to the final, and Cottingham needed to beat York RI by 3 clear goals. York RI staged a great rear guard action and won with a break away goal from Alexia. A great revenge for last week’s defeat in the RI Tournament final.
So the group stage finished like this: 5 wins, 1 draw, 0 losses, 8 goals scored and none conceded.
York RI progressed to play Sheffield United in the final, a replay of their meeting in the Doncaster Belles U11s semi final two years ago, which York RI won after a mammoth penalty shoot out.
The final was 7 and half minutes each way, with York RI getting off to a flyer with a goal from Alexia after only 10 seconds. But then York RI fell apart and the heat on the day started to take its toll and Sheffield got a deserved equaliser, the first goal Katie had conceded all day. Second half was very even with both sides creating good chances and both goalkeepers making some good saves. Full time: 1-1 so the final was to be decided by a penalty shoot out.
Sheffield won the toss and went first, but Katie made a brilliant save low down to her right. Alexia stepped up and hammered the ball into the back of the net, advantage York RI! Sheffield’s second penalty was straight down the middle and Katie again saved with her legs! Lauren stepped up knowing a goal gave York RI the title, but her effort was saved by the Sheffield goalkeeper! Still advantage York RI and Sheffield’s final penalty had to be scored to keep them in it, but yet again it was saved brilliantly by Katie, York RI winning 1-0 in the penalty shoot out and taking the title!
Coach Chris said afterwards ‘We have been so close in the previous 2 seasons to winning the treble, winning 2 of the titles and just missing out on the 3rd, I was beginning to think we would never do it. When we arrived on the day and saw the teams in our league we knew it was going to be a very hard task to win the group and progress to the final.’
‘But the girls were simply amazing and worked so hard on a very hot day, every one of them ran themselves into the ground. Beating the sides we did in the group stage and not concede a goal speaks highly of how well we fought today.’ When asked about Katie he said, ‘To save one penalty in a shoot out is great but to save all three is stunning, Katie has been brilliant all season and we are so happy for her, she deserves all the accolades today.’
Finally he was asked about the team, ‘I run out of superlatives to describe this group of girls, it was their 14th title in 3 seasons, and who knows how many they can go on and win? We keep telling them that each year it will get harder to win trophies but this just seems to make them work harder and their desire to win is simply incredible. Suzy and I are humbled by their effort and attitude and we are so proud to be their coaches.’