Newcastle United Get Their Hands On Silverware!
Newcastle United Women Reserves 5-2 Prudhoe Town Women FC
Northumberland Women’s County Cup Final – Whitley Park, Newcastle
Newcastle United’s Reserve Team continued the success of the club in the competition beating Prudhoe Town Women at Whitley Park. Becka Hansen set the tone for the Lady Mags in the first minute with an excellent finish. Prudhoe pulled one back before Newcastle went on the rampage with Toni Laurie getting 2, whilst Natalie Henderson and Siobhan Jones scored one a piece.
In front of a crowd nearing 300, the black and whites made an electric start. Newcastle won possession from the Prudhoe kick off and quickly rolled the ball out to Henderson on the left. The winger beat the full back one on one before hitting a ball across the six yard box. The defender could only clear to the edge of the area where Hansen was waiting to finish right footed into the bottom left hand corner, a fantastic start.
Prudhoe Town hit back in the next 15 minutes, forcing a lot of pressure on the Newcastle goal. As the quarter of an hour mark struck Town saw themselves level through Laura Jobson. The midfielder picked up a loose touch after a goal kick and advanced towards the 18 yard box. Jobson then hit a looping effort towards the top right hand corner and Newcastle ‘Keeper Michaela Raine was left with no chance as the ball struck the wood work before nestling in the net.
Prudhoe continued to control possession until the half hour mark, but Newcastle kept them at bay. As the game neared half-time, Newcastle re-took the lead through Toni Laurie. Again Henderson broke behind the full-back, this time down the right. She tricked her way passed a defender before crossing. The ball made its way to the edge of the 18 yard box where Laurie took on a defender before smashing a left footed effort into the top right hand corner.
There was still time in the half for Newcastle to extend their lead thanks to an excellent set piece from Henderson as Laurie was brought down on the left hand edge of the penalty area. Henderson calmly stepped up, clipping the free-kick over the wall, over the ‘keeper and into the back of the net.
The second half started in the same way the first did, with a Newcastle United goal. It was Henderson again pulling all the strings running down the right hand side. She got to the by-line before crossing to an unmarked Jones on the edge of the 6 yard box. The striker had her first effort saved by the Helen Bambrough, but the ball looped straight back to Jones who headed into an empty net.
Three goals to the good, Newcastle began to dominate proceedings. Henderson went close again from a set piece 25 yards out, but her effort went narrowly wide. Two minutes later came another opportunity from the same spot, this time Laurie took the free-kick, curling a right footed effort over the wall and under the cross bar, only to see Bambrough tip the ball onto the bar and away from danger.
Captain Amy Perch also tried to get in on the act, hitting a right footed half volley from 22 yards out only to see it excellently saved by Helen Bambrough once again. The game was over as a contest when Jones was brought down in the penalty area in the middle of the second half. Laurie stepped up, and like Hatem Ben Arfa at Queens Park Rangers, rifled her effort of the underside of the bar and into the net.
Prudhoe managed to get a consolation goal with 7 minutes remaining. A high ball into the box caught Robyn Parker and ‘keeper Raine off guard as the former headed into her own net.
All in all, an excellent performance and win from Newcastle United reserves, who take the trophy from the hands of the first team who beat them in last season’s final. The Lady Mags will now have the summer to rest before embarking on their second season in the Premier League.
Newcastle United team coach Paul Armstrong said after the game:
“Leading into the final the training sessions have been based around high intensity, starting quickly and continuing to produce until an end result is achieved. This is how the lasses started the final, quick accurate passing which resulted in the toon being ahead without a minute on the clock. The perfect start and a coach’s dream, the last training session flowing into the start of a game. Nerves then began to get the better of the younger members of the squad with passes going astray and players closing on each others space which began to strangle use in certain key areas of the pitch.
Prudhoe’s spirit was commendable, they began to utilise on the Newcastle mistakes which led to the Prudhoe equaliser. Failure to put pressure on the ball was the reason. Slowly the lasses began to move back to how we do it in training, stroking the ball around and finding a pass, the confidence was growing as the second goal came, winning the ball and playing through the thirds with some good interchanging of passes resulting in the lead being reinstated. The game was now flowing the way we had planned. Our levels of fitness were showing and the lasses were now taking the game to Prudhoe.
At half time again we challenged the lasses to produce better quality, which we knew they were capable of, just as had happened in the first half, within a minute, another goal. Standing on the touchline watching every single player getting involved, the confidence levels increasing with every pass and the resulting play generated was fantastic. That’s when you realise as a coach why you do what you do! The levels of commitment recently shown by the girls in those training sessions has been excellent and they now have the reward of being crowned County Cup Champions. Well Done Lasses!
We told the Chairman Phil Eadon, who has not been in the best of health for a few months, that we would do it for him. Well there you go mate the lasses did you and everybody at NUWFC proud”.
After lifting the trophy, Newcastle United captain Amy Perch added:
‘I am absolutely delighted with the performance of every single player who has contributed to our county cup run- the victory in the final was nothing less than we deserved. We played some great football and scored some wonderful team goals.
Credit must go to Prudhoe who came out fighting and gave us an excellent game- played in great spirits by both teams.
I could not be more proud of the squad- each and every player played their part and grafted right up until the final whistle. I think it’s fair to say we’ve had a difficult season and we haven’t always come away with results to match our performances. I’m pleased for the squad that we have closed the season in such tremendous fashion- it’s been a long, hard journey but we persevered together as a family and it’s paid off. We did it, we’re champions.’
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