The 2019/2020 Utilita Girls Cup kicked off last week and we have rounded up all the action for you!
The Area Finals of the Utilita Girls Cup began last Monday morning, kicking off a week of thrills, high-tempo football and lots of celebrations.
Schools from across the country, representing their local EFL club, were fighting it out in their respective Area Final to earn a place in the Regional Finals, just one step away from a once in a lifetime appearance at Wembley Stadium.
In the first Area Final, Wycombe Wanderers (represented by Wycombe High School) progressed after a dramatic sudden death penalty shoot-out win over Southend United hosted at Luton Town.
Barnsley’s Kirk Balk Academy were the eventual winners at Huddersfield’s Moor End Academy on Tuesday afternoon, also progressing after a penalty shootout victory over hosts Huddersfield Town.
There had been a nail-biting finish though, as Barnsley were heading for the win in normal time, before a Huddersfield equaliser with just 10 seconds left on the clock - sent the game to penalties. The Tykes kept their nerve to win the shootout 3-2, sending Kirk Balk Academy through to the Regional Finals.
Wednesday’s Area Final was hosted at Leigh Sports Village in Wigan, the home of Manchester United’s Women’s team. Thornleigh Salesian College, who were representing Bolton Wanderers, were crowned winners after a tight 1-0 win over Blackburn Rovers’ representatives Holy Cross Catholic High School.
Down at the Area Final in Exeter, Plymouth Argyle (represented by Eggbuckland Community College) were the eventual winners, seeing off Cardiff City by three-goals-to-nil. The Green Army were relentless throughout the tournament winning eight of their 10 games.
Heading back up north saw Burton Albion host the latest Area Final, with Stoke City (The King’s CE School) celebrating victory and progression to the Regional Finals.
The Potters were in red-hot form heading into the final game of the day, against Macclesfield Town, who had not conceded in any of their games until that point. Stoke had raced quickly into a 3-0 lead against the Silkmen, and despite two second-half comeback goals, Macclesfield couldn’t quite close the gap in Staffordshire.
Friday’s action saw Cheltenham Town (The Crypt School) battle it out with Swindon Town, Reading and Northampton Town at the Area Final hosted by Reading. The Robins progressed to the final match after a 5-4 victory in the semi-final penalty shootout. They then edged past Reading with a 1-0 score-line, meaning they would join the other confirmed teams in the Regional Finals.
At the Club Doncaster Sports Village, Nottingham Forest (Toot Hill School) picked up the winners pennants beating Hull City 4-1 in the showpiece Final.Forest were unbeaten in all six of their games throughout the day, scoring 14 goals and conceding only three in the process.
The final game of Friday’s action came at Fulham FC’s Training Ground, Motspur Park. Leyton Orient (represented by Bishop Challoner) and Brentford were the two teams battling it out for a place in the Regional Finals with the O’s narrowly beating the Bees in a tense penalty-shootout.
Congratulations to all our Utilita Girls Cup Area Final winners. These eight schools now progress to the Regional Finals, played on a North/South basis, in February, with the two winners set to represent their EFL clubs in the Grand Final at Wembley ahead of the Leasing.com Trophy Final on Sunday 5 April.
Utilita Girls Cup Regional Finalists
Bolton Wanderers (Thornleigh Salesian College)
Barnsley (Kirk Balk Academ)
Nottingham Forest (Toot Hill School)
Stoke City (The King’s CE School)
Plymouth Argyle (Eggbuckland Community College)
Cheltenham Town (The Crypt School)
Wycombe Wanderers (Wycombe High School)
Leyton Orient (Bishop Challoner)