BOTTISHAM GIRLS LEAD THE U'S TO WEMBLEY!
Cambridge United are triumphant in Football League Under 13s Girls Cup to book their place in the National Final at Wembley Stadium against Shrewsbury Town in April.
Once again represented by Bottisham Village College, the U's came through a dramatic Regional Finals stage on Wednesday to win the once in a lifetime opportunity.
Having already progressed through the Local and Area Finals, seeing off the likes of MK Dons, Ipswich Town and Peterborough United last month, the girls faced the winners of the three other Southern Area Finals, Brentford, Swindon Town and Millwall in a nail-biting afternoon at Oxford United.
Only goal difference could separate the sides in a tight group stage which decided the semi-final line-up and saw United go toe-to-toe with Swindon Town.
After watching Brentford score eight in the first semi-final to end Millwall's hopes in the competition, the U's stepped up to the mark with a confident 4-2 victory to set up a final against the Bees with a place at Wembley at stake.
A dramatic climax saw Brentford score two late goals in the final five minutes of the game to cancel out a 3-1 advantage for the U's, however with just 15 seconds remaining on the clock, United struck the decisive goal to clinch a thrilling 4-3 win.
As well as the opportunity for all eight players to feature on the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium against the Shrews during the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final, the girls have also won all expenses paid overnight accommodation and travel, a tour of the stadium and will feature in the official match day programme on the day.
Natalie Shenton, teacher of PE at Bottisham Village College commented: "I am very proud of the girls and overwhelmed with their achievements. They have reached this stage through encouraging each other, showing self-belief despite coming up against visibly bigger and stronger opponents and ensuring that they enjoy every moment of the competition playing with huge smiles on their faces.
"They are a credit to the school and to each other.
"I would also like to thank Paul Neary [Female Football Development Manager] and the team at Cambridge United who have continued to support the girls journey and facilitate the opportunities for them in the competition."
Meanwhile Cambridge United Community Trust Manager Danny Kerrigan was delighted at the success and added: "We are very proud of the girls’ achievement, but also want to use this opportunity to celebrate the progress of our whole Female Football Programme.
“After agreeing to support the newly-named Cambridge United Women’s FC last year, we have set ourselves the task of increasing female football participation. As well as the Under 13s Girls Cup, we deliver free football sessions to girls aged 14 and over in secondary schools across Cambridgeshire, encouraging participants to join local grassroots clubs to continue their development.
“This is in addition to the Girls Soccer Schools and Girls Soccer Centres run as part of the Club’s expanding Youth Development and Community Programme.”
For more information on any of Cambridge United women’s and girl’s football opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.