Royals third cup final in four seasons, could it be third time lucky?
This was a repeat of last years final against AFC Lightning played at Chesham United. Both teams had beaten each other in the respective league games and sat first and second in the league table so it was always going to be a close game with two evenly matched teams.
Both teams started cautiously with neither side really dominating. However it was AFC Lightning who scored first.
The ball fell free to the AFC Lightning forward who hit an unstoppable shot from outside the area.
Heads could have dropped at this point but Royals dug in and started to play with a bit more confidence.
The last ten minutes of the half Royals had their best period and were looking the more threatening team.
HT 1-0 – AFC Lightning.
At Half time we talked about the fact that AFC were tiring and this is where our squad rotation would be a strong factor in our favour. We asked the girls to just go 100%, flat out to attack.
The second half started and what a response from the girls. This was going to be a totally different half from the first.
This was now wave after wave of attacks from the Royals with massive pressure being put onto the AFC goal. Several corners were conceded and from one of these Royals got the equaliser.
Katie Lee put across a terrific corner (one of many in the game) and found the inrushing Lizzie, Amber and Tilly. The ball flew into the net 1-1, Game on.
With only a minute of normal time remaining Royals won another corner. Again Katie hit a vicious in swinging corner that the keeper could only parry into the top corner of the net.
After around 5 minutes of added time the ref blew his whistle.
Game over, Royals win the cup!!!!
FT – 1-2 Royals.
What a fantastic performance, especially in the second half. Having a good squad of thirteen players really paid off today. The second half was very similar to the Chelsea v Barcelona Champions league semi final except this time the team on the defensive couldn’t stop the relentless attacking team.
The defensive unit - Keeper Jess G, Chelsea, Lizzie and Tilly. Communication, cover and support it was all there. Brilliant.
The wingers - Chloe, Jess J and Ellie C. Fantastic pace and skill. Terrorised the opposition full backs. Got back and defended when needed.
The centre of the midfield – Amber and Maddie. Strength, power and really intelligent passing. Great support and cover for the attack and defence.
Forwards – Katie, Ellie P, H and Emma. Extremely hard working. Closed down the opposition defence and linked with the midfield superbly. Always looked lively.
Well done girls on this fantastic achievement it was fully deserved on the day. The passing and movement today at times was breath taking, this is how to play football.
It was also good to see Coran collect a medal she fully deserved for playing in all of the cup games other than the final.
It was nice to win the league last season but this was better, a day to remember.
And finally, it will be great to show off some silverware on presentation day.