Wycombe Wanderers Ladies U18s capped their first season with silverware, winning the Berks & Bucks Cup at Adams Park last Sunday afternoon, as Andy Baker writes.
Wycombe Wanderers U18s XI 5-1 Caversham Swans
Following an impressive first season, Wycombe Wanderers U18s faced Caversham Swans in the Berks & Bucks Cup Final, at Adams Park. In Caversham, the Chairgirls faced a formidable strike force, including the league’s top scorer, as well as the pressure of playing in their first ever cup final.
The opening 20 minutes of the match was not surprisingly nervy, and competitive. Wycombe had periods of pressure and put some good attacking movements together, with Woods looking dangerous down the right flank, and Johnston providing a willing target for forward passes.
In the early exchanges Caversham were also a threat, forcing two corners which resulted in penalty area scrambles, one of which saw Whittle make an excellent and important save with her legs. As the half progressed Wycombe began to assert their authority on the game through their defensive organisation, with Knock and Orchard effectively managing the Caversham strikers, and the gradual assertion of Wycombe’s passing football.
Wycombe took the lead in the 28th minute, with a fine opening goal, be-fitting of a cup final. Poland bravely won a header from a goal kick in the centre of the pitch. Wheller attacked the loose ball from her right back position, jinked past the oncoming Caversham left back, drove into the area, and from the right hand corner of the area struck the ball cleanly over the Caversham keeper into the top left corner of the net.
Wycombe continued to press, creating a series of chances through their impressive attacking movement and energy. However these chances were spurned, and the lead remained uncomfortably narrow as the half time break approached.
In injury time at the end of the first half Wycombe scored the all important second. This was followed by some neat, short passing combination play in the middle of the pitch, by Chowdhry, and Day. Who was then able to find Baker in space in the centre of the pitch, where she delivered an incisive defence splitting pass to Ball running in behind the Caversham back four. Ball outpaced the recovering defenders, and rounded the keeper, side footing the ball into the empty net for Wycombe’s second.
Wycombe started the second half as they finished the first, dominating the ball, and territory, with the pressure forcing early corners, one of which found Winfield 12 yards out in space, who struck the ball first time at goal, doing well to keep the ball down, and forcing the keeper to save. The Caversham keeper parried the shot, but only to poacher Chowdhry who gratefully tucked away the rebound from inside the six yard box.
Wycombe were now camped in the Caversham half who were struggling to get out. On 54 minutes the pressure told with Poland, again first to a loose ball, striking a 20 yard right footed drive which flew over the keeper’s head. Caversham defended valiantly and scored themselves on 71 mins, to make it 4-1 following Wycombe’s failure to clear their lines, despite a number of opportunities.
The last ten minutes finished with Wycombe continuing to press, notably through Shah as a marauding left back, supported by Davis prompting from her left midfield position. Two minutes from time Maddie Woods made it 5-1 to Wycombe with a superb individual goal, beating the full back on the right and hitting a dipping 25 yard shot into the top left hand corner of the net, leaving the keeper with no chance. The young Wycombe team had risen to the occasion, and won the County Cup Final 5-1.
Wycombe Wanderers Ladies U18s: Whittle; Wheller, Shah, Knock, Orchard; Day, Poland, Baker; Woods, Johnston, Ball
Subs Winfield, Chowdhry, Davis