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Report, Reaction & Gallery: Stevenage Ladies retain Cup Crown

12 March 2018

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Congratulations from everyone at Stevenage FC..

Stevenage Ladies successfully retained the Hertfordshire Women’s Challenge Cup on Sunday afternoon after swatting aside Hoddesdon Town Owls, 8-0.

The result means that Stevenage Ladies have now won back-to-back County Cup titles including three out of the last four.

The achievement is all the more impressive when you take into account the fact that only Watford and Arsenal Ladies have ever retained the trophy.

Tensions were high ahead of kick-off with plenty of recent history between the two sides making for some interesting storylines.

Three Hoddesdon players featured in last season's cup final for Stevenage, whilst manager Reece Buck left Hoddesdon to become the Boro boss and brought across Kristi Burling and Rebecca Scola from the Owls.

It took 16 minutes for the scoring to be opened as Amy Makewell hit a quick-fire double to see Boro 2-0 up after 20 minutes. Player of the Match Chloe Gunn added two more before the break and right out to start the second half, substitute Ashleigh Deacon got in on the action with a brace of her own.

Makewell completed her hat-trick in the second half whilst Leah Littlechild made it 8-0 in the closing minutes.

Speaking to on Monday afternoon, Manager Reece Buck reflected on the performance.

“I am delighted. The girls have done us really proud," he said.

“For the first 20 minutes or so you could tell it was a cagey affair. They were set-up to defend, soak up pressure and hit us on the counter attack.

“We knew that we had to keep the ball and we had it in our heads that once we got our first, it would just relax everyone. We knew that we would be able to just play from that moment and keep the ball for as long as possible.

“From my perspective, I was happy because we had worked hard ball retention and I think that was key.”

After winning promotion to the Women's Premier League D1 South East Division in 2016, the ladies staved off relegation last season and have since gone from strength to strength.

Currently nicely poised in midtable and looking to achieve a top half finish, it will be the club's highest ever league finish and with another County Cup title in the bag, Buck says the club are making great progress.

“At the beginning of the season it was our priority to retain the trophy so we are so pleased that we can tick that off.

“We have come on leaps and bounds since last year," Buck added.

“It took a while for us to adjust to this level and after just about staying up last season, to be in with a shot of a top five finish, the girls have done brilliantly.

“I think going forward we are in a good place, the reserves are doing really well too.

“We are only going to get bigger and better. We are one of only two teams to beat AFC Wimbledon this season and they are going to win the title with an incredible record.

"So, I am pleased with the direction we are heading in and as I have said, I couldn't be more proud of the girls."

SLFC XI: Shayla Burgess, Paige Logie, Tanya Blacksley, Dominique Godbeer, Cara Breckenridge, Chloe Gunn, Ellie Searle, Leah Littlechild, Amy Makewell, Donna McGuigan (C), Nicole Emmings

Subs: Danielle Maloney, Amy Josland, Kristi Burling, Ashleigh Deacon, Rebecca Scola.

Click here to check out the full gallery of photos from Sunday's final, courtesy of Steve Betts.


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