Staffordshire FA County Youth Under 16 Challenge Cup Final
AFC Biddulph 2 Newcastle Town Juniors 1 (AET, FT 1-1)
at Stoke City Ladies FC
Thursday 6th April 2017
On a cool but dry evening in Staffordshire it was AFC Biddulph who attacked almost straight from the kick-off and an early header just cleared the crossbar as the opening moments almost brought as the earliest goal of this season’s finals.
Biddulph were certainly looking dangerous in the opening exchanges so it was somewhat against the run of play when Newcastle took the lead with a shot through a crowd of players from Max Cuthbert on 14 minutes after good work by Jack Dundas created the opening.
The game began to open up and both sides looked to attack, this final building into an exciting contest with Biddulph guilty of missing a couple of great chances to equalise shortly after going behind and Newcastle looking like may add to their lead as the half drew to a close.
However, the score remained 1-0 at half time with nothing to separate the sides bar the early Cuthbert goal.
Biddulph began the second half with a bang as Kian Lloyd rounded the Newcastle keeper and slotted into the empty net to put the sides level and it was all to play for.
The second half carried on in much the same vein as the first, both sides looking to get forward but neither side able to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and with so little to choose between the sides, it was no surprise that the game headed into extra time.
Just 20 minutes of play remained for someone to grab a winner and avoid a penalty shoot out and although chances were limited by hard working defences, Biddulph snatched a dramatic winner with just moments remaining as Jay Simpson’s hard and low shot from a narrow angle beat the Newcastle keeper to put his side 2-1 ahead.
Newcastle almost equalised immediately when they saw a header come back off the post and the rebound smashed across goal with nobody able to apply the finishing touch and as the clock ticked down, Biddulph were able to hold on and claim a memorable victory and lift the trophy.
Congratulations to them and also thanks to Stoke City Ladies FC for providing their facilities for this season’s Under 16 Sunday Cup Final.