Three of Saints junior teams gathered at the Garrison Ground, Winchester yesterday to participate in their respective cup finals. The Under Tens were faced with Winchester, a fantastic side who have beaten us in our last 4 meetings. Saints were not phased by this statistic and looked full of fight and were ready for this tough fixture.
Winchester started quickly, immediately testing our trustee defenders Sophie Shiner
and Kaytlin Roberts
. Luckily fantastic superstar goalie Annie Bulkeley was on guard to save Saints from going 1-0 down straight away. Despite the best efforts of Lisa Gilham
, Simge Rosz
and Kia Anteney
in midfield, Winchester attacked quickly after five minutes and were able to send themselves into the lead. Saints did not however let their heads drop. Showing amazing strength and character, the girls continued to make chances using pacy Lisa on the right wing. Saints' prominent striker Jennifer King
put constant pressure on the Winchester defence and eventually their hard work paid off, with Simge Rosz
passing the ball past the Winchester goalkeeper in a goalmouth scramble. Winchester, using their great attacking ability were hungry to go back into the lead and broke through on goal. From nowhere, Kaytlin Roberts
made a crucial last ditch tackle to prevent the Winchester striker from taking a shot. Meanwhile, at the other end Saints had one more chance before the half time whistle, when on form striker Jennifer struck one post, only for the ball to roll along the line and hit the other post.
After half time, Saints were instructed to keep the pressure on and remain tight and compact in all areas of the pitch. Strong defender Emily Gook
was brought on to give Kaytlin Roberts
a rest after her brilliant performance. Simge and Lisa continued to use the width of the pitch to get crosses in, and Lisa also hit the post from a excellent long range shot. Kia Anteney
in centre midfield never stopped running, as she has done all season and used her phenomenal passing ability to make some defence splitting passes through to Jennifer King
. Phoebe Emery was brought on up front to allow Jennifer to drop back into midfield and give Simge Rosz
a rest who had run her socks off. Phoebe's first touch of the game came when she kept the ball in on the back line where she passed it into the box, however Saints just couldn't find the back of the net. Winchester didn't stop though, they attacked our defenders Sophie and Emily were doing an excellent job of stemming the flow, however when they were able to break through on one occasion, a shot on goal was almost obvious. Jennifer King
, however, was having none of it, she had tracked back at full pace and made a slide tackle in the box to send the ball out for a corner, John Terry would have been proud of that tackle. The final whistle blew and at the end of normal time the score was 1-1.
Extra time was on the cards, and the Saints girls were still up for the challenge. Both teams made goal scoring opportunities however Saints just couldn't hit the net. The post was struck again and Simge Rosz
was brought on in preparation for the inevitable penalty shoot out.
won the penalty shoot out for Saints when she buried the dead ball into the back of the net, her first game of the season for Saints and the goal which would end up winning us the cup. Annie Bulkeley also made a fantastic penalty save when she tipped the ball round the post and Saints ended up winning 1-0 on penalties.
The under tens should be so so proud of themselves, they definitely deserved this result and it is credit to the whole squad, not just the team on the day, for their hard work and commitment for the whole season. We certainly ended the season in style and deserved to collect the cup at the end of the game, with captain Sophie Shiner
leading her team up to collect the trophies.
Girl of the game: Jennifer King
definitely deserved this award today. She covered every single blade of grass on the pitch and did not stop running. She worked hard up front to keep the Winchester defence under pressure and then in midfield worked up and back to make that last ditch crucial tackle to keep Saints in the game. This is a fantastic way to end a very very good season for Jennifer.