Tuesday 22 March 2011

Staffordshire County Cup    Kick Off : 19:30 A CHANTELLE GALLAGHER inspired performance helped the Stoke City Ladies first team to a record sixth Staffordshire County Challenge Cup triumph at Norton United on Tuesday night. The striker bagged an impressively taken hat-trick, whilst goalkeeper Justine Lewis was the victim of an unfortunate own goal;as the Potters' Ladies first team overcame their understudies by four goals to nil in an entertaining affair watched by over 200 supporters. The scoreline suggests a one-sided encounter, but that wasn't the case, as the reserve team put in a performance which in truth could have resulted in a totally different outcome. Gallagher's instincts in front of goal were undoubtedly the difference between the two sides on the night and whilst manager Steve Swanwick was clearly delighted to have retained the trophy for a second successive year, he reserved special praise for the reserve team. "I thought the second team were absolutely fantastic tonight, and that is a huge credit to them," he told stokecityfc.com. "To be in a position where they had to play against players from the first team, and to go out and put in a performance like they did really tells you everything about them. In fact, overall I think they edged it. "I don't envy any of the players out there who have had to play a competetive cup final against their friends. You could see that it was hard for them, especially my side. But, at the end of the day goals win games and Chantelle has the capabilities of scoring goals like she has tonight. He added: "To have both of our teams in the final of the competition speaks volumes about what we have achieved here. This is undoubtedly the best womens football club in the county, and having both of the sides here tonight in this final proves that." Reserve Team boss Duane Allen couldn't contain his delight at his sides performance, paying a glowing tribute to each and everyone of his players. "At 2-0 we have hit the bar, hit the post and had other opportunities to score," he said. "Unfortunately it just didn't drop for us. But, I can't describe how proud I am of them to be fair. "In the second half, I thought we were by far the better team, and the girls have gone out there and proven that in a year or two's time they can make the step up and get in that first team. "Whilst they are gutted now, I just want them to know how fantastic they were. Words can't describe how well they did tonight, and standing here now, regardless of the result, I am so, so proud of them.