Hosted by Millwall Community Trust at their superb ‘Lions Centre’ facility at the New Den, the girls were to join nine other schools representing southern area football league clubs although on the day, the team from Charlton couldn’t make it. Two groups played to find winners and runner’s up who then played their opposites in a semi and ultimate final to determine which school would go through to the Regional Finals in February and a further opportunity to play at Wembley Stadium in the EFL Girls Cup final played prior to the Checkatrade Trophy Final on April 2.
An opening game v Gillingham ended 0-0 and this laid the foundations for the tournament as only eight goals were scored in the whole of the 10 game league. 1-0 wins over QPR and Millwall were enough to claim the runners-up slot even though the girls ended their group games with a 1-0 defeat to Brighton – the Seagulls only shot on goal!
In the semi-final, Fulham were the opponents and in a carbon copy of the Brighton game containing a majority of possession and frequent near misses including two excellent saves form the Fulham ‘keeper, one shot on target was enough to take Fulham through to the final where they eventually lost out to Brentford 3-2 on penalties after a 0-0 drawn game.
“It was a great experience and the girls have had a marvellous day and thoroughly enjoyed themselves,” commented Stoke Newington coach Steve Clark. “Lots of the teams were evenly matched but one or two player’s stood out and made the difference. All of the games were tight affairs and on another day it could easily have been us to go through. But we’d like to thank Leyton Orient once again for the opportunity and well, maybe next year!”
And Howard Gould, Club Liaison Officer, commented, “The girls attitude was excellent throughout. It just goes to show that goals and not possession counts but they went into every game with optimism and a smile and represented the O’s immaculately.”
For Stoke Newington, this was their second consecutive appearance at this stage of the Girls Cup and Steve added, “We’re very proud of our achievements, getting through the local tournament and representing Orient, and we’ll look to do the same again next year. I’m determined to go one better so will be hard at work with the current Year 7’s as soon as I get back!”
And player Maya Seleznyov said, “It was a fun experience and we tried our best but it just wasn’t to be. We enjoyed it a lot though!”
The girls will be guests of the club at a future home game and are seen in the photo proudly holding their EFL Girls Cup pennants. So it’s a well done to Maya Seleznyov, Brianna Bramble-Moreno, Maddy Cooper, Davina Thakore, Keira Drummond, Lola Orton and Lili Wandwooson.
Next up is the boy’s equivalent, the EFL Kids Cup, with Redbridge school Aldersbrook Primary travelling to Wycombe Wanderers in March to take on their counterparts in the hope that they can emulate 2014 winners Chase Lane Primary from Chingford, who went all the way and beat Nottingham Primary school 1-0 in a close fought match prior to the League One Play-Off Final. News on their venture in the coming weeks.