Sporting Khalsa Women 0 - v - 2 Stoke City Ladies
A chilly evening at Evans Park for the first County Cup final of the season and a historic first ever Staffordshire FA final on a 3G surface.
These teams have become familiar foes in this competition and the Potters went into this final looking for the tenth successive crown.
Khalsa began the brighter and were playing some attractive football, looking to catch Stoke cold early on and they almost took the lead when a fine passing move ended with Becky Parsons shot being saved by Natalie Hall.
Toni Parkes in the Khalsa goal saved a Kate Asher close range header from a corner but she was helpless in the 17th minute when a Faye McCoy free-kick took a deflection and looped into the far corner to give Stoke a 1-0 lead.
Credit to Khalsa as they continued to play their passing football, probing for an opening and denying their opponents many clear cut chances.
Parsons looked dangerous again later in the half but again her shot was saved by Hall but it was Stoke who doubled their lead shortly before the break when a pinpoint Asher through ball was nicked past the keeper by Ashleigh Hayes who then rolled the ball into the empty net for a 2-0 half time lead.
The second half saw both sides playing neat football and Khalsa were matching their higher ranked opponents but could not find that all important breakthrough despite their efforts.
Parkes in the Khalsa goal was having a great game and at the other end Kyrie Ball saw a rocket shot from 25 yards fly narrowly wide of Hall’s left hand post that many of the crowd thought was going to hit the back of the net.
Hall denied Ball with a smart save and the rebound was scrambled clear in what turned out to be the final chance of the game for Khalsa as the clock ticked down and Stoke were crowned champions of Staffordshire for the tenth time in succession with skipper Meg Bowyer again lifting the trophy presented by Ted Evans from Staffordshire FA.
Credit to both sides for an entertaining game of football and an excellent advert for the female game in Staffordshire and a young Khalsa side can be proud of pushing Stoke all the way in a competitive final.
Finally we would like to thank to all the supporters who braved the cold to cheer on their teams and support the Staffordshire Ladies Challenge Cup Final.