Hindley Juniors 5-4 Barrow Celtic Juniors Comets
Women’s County League Cup: Plate final
Sunday 8th March
The County Ground, Lancashire FA HQ
Goalscorers: Wilkinson (7, 45), Dalton (25), Smith (39, 83), Grocott (48, 75), Sargeson (63), Green (68)
A thrilling final saw Hindley Juniors come back from 3-1 down to edge out Barrow Celtic Juniors Comets and lift the Plate.
Barrow Celtic took a healthy two-goal advantage into half time but Hindley hit back to take the lead in the second half.
With seven minutes to go, Barrow Celtic made it 5-4 to set up a nervy finish, yet Hindley were able to see out the end of the game to claim victory.
It was Rebecca Wilkinson who gave Barrow an early lead, showing skill with the ball at her feet by rounding Hindley ‘keeper Laura Swindells and finishing in the bottom corner.
Hindley had been firing chances at goal from the off; before Barrow’s goal, Sally Worthington saw a shot go wide before Barrow Celtic ‘keeper Antonia Lipscombe caught Jess Sargeson’s effort.
They turned up the pressure as Aimee Dalton, then Worthington both shot off-target, before Lipscombe pulled off a superb save from Sargeson and Anna Hardman’s curled strike fell wide.
And it wasn’t long before they made a breakthrough via Dalton. She surged down the right, leading a swift Hindley attack, and cleverly steered the ball around the oncoming Lipscombe to guide home into the back of the net.
But Barrow Celtic dealt Hindley a hammer blow as Rebecca Smith unleashed an excellent strike from outside the box to reclaim their lead.
And shortly before half time, Wilkinson bagged her second and Barrow Celtic’s third, finishing well after a brilliant through ball by Beth Lyndsy set her up.
Hindley were going to need to come out all guns blazing after the interval if they were to have any chance of getting back into the game - and they did so with a goal three minutes in.
Becky Grocott, who threatened throughout the second half, netted with a simple finish from the edge of the box to reduce the deficit.
And Grocott could have had a hat-trick within minutes, rattling the post shortly after with a shot that everyone thought was going in, before firing narrowly wide immediately afterwards.
Hindley continued their offence on their opposition’s penalty area and it paid off as minutes after the hour mark they were level. As they attacked, a shot deflected off Sargeson and wrong-footed Lipscombe for the equaliser.
Five minutes later, Hindley took the lead for the first time in the game, as Allissa Green stormed into the left-hand side of the box and finished well to bag her side’s fourth of the match.
Not satisfied with a one-goal advantage, Grocott then made it five with a great strike from outside the area.
Sargeson then almost made it six, striking the crossbar from around 40 yards out after spotting Lipscombe off her line.
Barrow Celtic weren’t done yet, however, and set up a nervous finish as Smith notched a brace with a right-sided shot on the counter-attack.
But Hindley held on as, extraordinarily, they replicated the exact result from their league encounter with Barrow Celtic, and lifted the Plate to mark an entertaining and exciting advert for women’s football.
Hindley Juniors: Swindells, Hook, Worthington, Winstanley, Lancaster, Sargeson, George, Green, Hardman, Dalton, Grocott
Substitutes: Picton, Armstrong, Gough, H Banks, K Banks
Barrow Celtic Juniors Comets: Lipscombe, Thompson, Perry, Crawford, Harris, Crickett, Sunderland, Litherland, Smith, Lyndsy, Wilkinson
Substitutes: Crawford, Norman, Puckey