It was near perfect conditions for the final County Cup Final of the season and it was a very much anticipated match between two of the Counties best U12 teams.
Referee Adam Holt, who had just been presented the Pioneer Young referee of the year got the match going with SB kicking off, they went straight on the attack but the ball went right through to the Bideford keeper. The first meaningful attack came from Bideford, when the ball was played to Erin Routcliff whose shot was well saved by Grace Luscombe. SB had their fist real chance when Taya Pomfret played a great through ball Olivia Lennox, who saw her shot well saved by the Bideford keeper.
Olivia Lennox looked like Frankfort’s best player, as she looked lively and kept breaking through the Bideford midfield with her powerful runs. It was a very even first half, with SB having the majority of the possession, but Bideford’s defence stood firm and they had their fair share of chances. With half-time approaching, a long kick from Bideford’s goalkeeper, Grace Luscombe, found Ruby Clarke, and she nudged the ball past the SB keeper and it trickled into the empty net. With ninety seconds left of the first half, SB got their equaliser. A great counter attacking move as Elena Price played in Olivia Lennox down the left-hand side, and her right footed shot was curled into the corner of the Bideford net.
The referee blew his whistle to bring an entertaining first-half to an end. The second-half had a bit of a slow start, with neither team giving too much away. However, the game was brought to life in the 38th minute as Olivia Lennox got her second of the game. She picked up the ball 20 yards out and curled an unstoppable shot into the top right corner of the Bideford goal, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance. Her goal could well be the goal or one of the goals of all nineteen cup finals.
After taking the lead, Frankfort looked to be controlling the game and having the large share of possession. However, they were nearly caught out twice as Bideford searched for an equaliser and both Maizie Mack and Lauryn Neale were unfortunate not to score. With 15 minutes to go, SB extended their lead even further. The Bideford defence failed to clear their lines, and Courntey McGowan picked up the ball and cooly slotted home to make it 3-1 to the Plymouth side.
SB were now defending for their lives as Bideford’s attack were piling on the pressure, but SB did well to deal with the threat which Bideford posed. SB got a fourth when Lennox charged down a clearance from Grace Luscombe to complete her hat-trick. It was a bit of a freak goal, and left Bideford needing 3 goals in the last 10 minutes to take the game to extra-time.
Bideford did get a deserved consolation goal in the last minute of normal time, as Chloe MacDonald-Bale drove a fierce shot through a crowd of player into the bottom corner of the SB goal. Unfortunately for Bideford, this wasn’t enough as the referee Adam Holt blew his whistle to end a thrilling cup final.
Signal Box Frankfort were victorious by 4 goals to 2, in what was an absolutely brilliant advert for the ever-growing girls game in Devon. Both teams should be very proud of their efforts.
Player of the Match – Olivia Lennox (Signal Box Frankfort Youth)