The ladies of Solihull College Football Academy travelled to Notts County Football Club in an attempt to win the double by becoming English College Football Association (ECFA) National Play Off Cup champions. The ladies beat Middlesbrough 5-2 last week to secure their place in the final and hoped to continue their successes.
Captain Poppy Jones led Solihull College Ladies out who faced a tough opponent in Reading’s John Madejski Academy. The first half was well fought from both sides and it was difficult to separate the two teams. Solihull College were able to have more of the chances, however JM Academy’s Goalkeeper was on form, preventing Solihull College’s Coral Haines from scoring.
JM Academy’s defence could only hold off Solihull College’s attack for so long as just minutes before half time Coral Haines struck the ball low beyond the Goalkeepers reach to give Solihull College Ladies a 1-0 lead.
Going into the second half in the lead meant the ladies of Solihull College had even more determination to ensure they secured the win as it was within their reach. JM Academy could not find a way through the defensive line up of Solihull College as Jaymee Dudley, Millie Fugler, Rebecca Lloyd and Sian Johnson were on top form in the back 4.The Solihull College ladies persisted with their attacking and a second goal was nearly secured until JM Academy’s defence cleared the ball off the goal line.
The Solihull College ladies remained calm in the closing minutes of the game and managed to hold off JM Academy to secure the 1-0 victory and be crowned ECFA Women’s National Play Off Champions. This is the ladies second cup victory in a matter of weeks as they beat West Hertfordshire in April to win the title of ECFA National Premier Cup champions.
The Ladies coach Jo Potter was unable to attend the game as she received the news that she has been selected for the England Ladies squad ahead of the World Cup this summer and is now in training with England.
Solihull College’s Louis Sowe stepped in as coach for the game and praised the ladies, who are all aged between 16-19, for their efforts: “the result has capped off what has been a successful 2 years for our academy players. For some of the girls it was a fitting way to end their time at Solihull College by securing their second trophy and finishing the season on a high. It was a hard fought game between 2 very good sides but I thought we edged it and fully deserved the win. It was great to see that everything we, as staff and players, have worked on this season was evident in the game, including an organised defence with an attack capable of scoring goals against any side.”
Player of the match went to Coral Haines for her effort on goal. All of the players for Solihull College proved their abilities as footballers and now have 2 cup titles to show for their hard work and their careers in football are ones to look out for.
The Ladies Football Academy at Solihull College partners with Birmingham City Ladies FC which means that the College can provide its students with professional training from UEFA qualified coaches. Solihull College allows aspiring female footballers to prove their skills and passion for the sport; potentially giving them the opportunity to play for Birmingham City Ladies reserves which is a great stepping stone for their careers as professional footballers.
The opportunities for aspiring female footballers are growing this year at Solihull College as the College hopes to increase the number of teams as well as offer places to students outside of the local area; if you could like to have more information on the courses available at Solihull College please visit www.solihull.ac.uk/courses or call 0121 678 7000