Wigan Athletic Ladies & Girls 3-0 Golborne Girls

An account of the 2018/19 U15 Girls County Youth Cup, sponsored by Missing Link. Report by Alec Whitaker

Wigan Athletic Ladies & Girls lifted the Missing Link U15 Girls County Cup by hammering Golborne Girls 3-0.

Sole-striker Katie Leadbetter’s audacious effort and Amy Taylor’s spot kick fired Wigan into a commanding 2-0 lead at half time.

Leadbetter then doubled her tally in the 63rd minute, slotting past Hilton from Abbie Wright’s defence splitting pass, to put the gloss on an emphatic victory.  

Wigan started the brighter of the two sides and had the first chance of the game in the 14th minute when Leadbetter rounded Hilton, but her left-footed effort was cleared off the line by Alana Pennington.

After overcoming that early scare, Michelle Leathem’s Golborne side grew into the game, as Daisy Burns almost caught Amelia Knowles off guard with her speculative 30-yard direct free kick, which went narrowly over the bar.

But it was Leadbetter who used her initiative in the 28th minute, drilling a powerful left-footed effort with the outside of her boot into the bottom corner, to give The Latics a crucial lead.

Referee Courtney Taylor then pointed to the spot five minutes later after Burns was adjudged to handle Alicia Jones’ drive.

Amy Taylor obliged and drilled the ball low and hard past Hilton, who got a strong hand on the ball but was unable to keep her effort out.

Captain, Louisa Reffell had a golden opportunity to pull one back for Golborne before the interval, but her effort was sliced wide of Knowles’ right post.

Golborne, who had been publicly backed by the likes of Jeff Stelling, Paul Ince and Graeme Souness ahead of the Final, started the second half with more energy, however they were unable to find a goal to threaten a possible comeback.  

Leadbetter broke the hearts of Golborne Girls, putting the game beyond doubt for Brian Taylor’s Wigan side in the 63rd minute, as the talismanic striker latched on to Wright’s pass, before drilling low and hard past the on-rushing Hilton.

Leah Hodkinson then almost made it four in the 74th minute, but her right-footed effort from distance was smartly parried away to safety.

Despite being three goals down Golborne refused to give in, as Reffell saw her rasping effort veer just wide of the bottom corner in the 78th minute.

And with almost the last kick of the game, substitute Shannon Ditchfield must have expected the net to ripple but Hilton denied her making an important save from 18 yards.

Wigan Athletic Girls

Knowles, Wright, Jones, Moran, Brown, Parker, Leadbetter (28, 63), Hodkinson, Taylor (32), Jones (c), Edwards.

Substitutes: Ditchfield, Porter, Robinson, Berry 

Golborne Girls   

Hilton, Price, Reffell (c), Gould, Daisy Burns, Ellis, Poppy Burns, Howarth, Spencer, Gerken, Pennington.

Substitutes: Livesay, Clarke.

Referee: Courtney Hughes

Assistant Referee: Abby Dearden

Assistant Referee: Kathryn Hughes

Fourth Official: Isabella Keating