Several Nottinghamshire clubs were in action this weekend (20 & 21 May) as the women’s season came to its conclusion.
It would be a weekend that would see heartbreak for Nottingham Forest, and Arnold Eagles, mixed fortunes for Nottingham Trent University, and a cup win for Newark Town, with four competitions reaching their dramatic endings.
NTU took the plaudits, claiming a first trophy at their level following a five-goal thriller in the East Midlands Women’s Regional League Plate final, on the Sunday (21 May) lunch-time, they edging Loughborough Foxes Vixens 3-2 at Eagle Valley, Arnold.
Two goals to the good at the interval, Emma Dennis’ side were made to work for the win in the second period when the Foxes turned the game on its head to equalise with five remaining, Uni taking the win at the death.
Ellie McKeegan gave NTU the lead with a stunning, thirty-yard free-kick, before a cross from Quinn Garner was turned home by a Foxes defender for an own-goal, that affording the two-goal lead; the second period however, Mat Stock’s Foxes got themselves within touching distance of success.
Renae Huggan-Broughton pulled one back from the penalty spot then, with five minutes left, Emily Walrond levelled; with the game looking like it was going the distance, NTU struck back, at the death, Olivia ‘Bea’ Hembrough stabbing home the winner as the contest ticked into stoppage time.
NOTTINGHAM TRENT – Hollie Lewis, Bailey Sipos, Eloise Hembrough, Olivia Hembrough, Alice Rogers, Kayleigh Ablott, Emily Pinkess, Amy Seymour-Shove, Hannah Thornley, Quinn Garner, Ellie McKeegan
In the afternoon kick-off it would be heartbreak for Neil Matthews’ Arnold Eagles side, they losing the EMWRFL League Cup final against cup double winners, Lincoln United.
Already holding their County Cup, Lincoln lifted the League Cup courtesy of a brace from Ellie Gilliatt, scoring once in each half, and a curling effort from Tracey Duxbury-Mead, Lincoln leading by one at the break.
The other cup final played was in the Nottinghamshire Girls & Ladies League, Newark Town lifting their League Cup with a 2-1 win over NTU’s county side.
League Cup success added to the Seniors 2 title for Newark, they having won their league with an undefeated season (13 wins and one draw), finishing seven points clear of runners-up, Lowdham Colts; NTU meanwhile, they finished fifth in Seniors 1, seventeen points off champions, Retford.
Meanwhile, Northern Premier double-winners, Nottingham Forest, and their dream of Barclays Women’s Championship football goes on following defeat to Damon Lathrope’s Southern Premier champions, Watford, at Stadium MK, on Saturday (20 May) afternoon.
Andy Cook’s Forest, who lifted the Northern title, and the FA Women’s National League Cup, were beaten by just the one goal against a side they’d only just seen off in a five-goal, extra-time thriller, a few weeks earlier.
It was to be Watford and Wales legend, Helen Ward’s last game and goes off into the sunset knowing she’s helped her side to promotion, for Forest though, it’s back to the drawing board for next season.
The only goal of the game arrived midway through the first period when a deep cross from Gemma Davison is met by Poppy Wilson at the back-post, she outjumping the Reds defence and heading home the only goal of the game.
The promoted side could have had a second just after the hour mark however Ellie Head’s goal was ruled out for offside – it mattered not for them, next season they’ll be the ones playing Championship football.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST – Emily Batty, Lyndsey Harkin, Olivia Cook, Charlotte Steggles, Sophie Domingo, Yasmin Mosby, Amy West, Arryana Daniels, Becky Anderson, Hayley James, Charlotte Greengrass
At the leagues’ awards dinner meanwhile, Forest did take home two awards, Manager Andy Cook being named the Northern Premier Manager of the Year, whilst Emily Batty was named the Northern Goalkeeper of the Year.
There’s now just one match left in the women’s football season as Carlton Town’s Bill Stokeld Stadium plays host to the Nottinghamshire FA Women’s County Cup final on Tuesday (23 May), Mansfield Town facing the EMWRFL’s promoted champions, Notts County.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NTUsport NTU lifting the trophy after beating Loughborough Foxes Vixens.