Thursday 10 March 2016

Staffordshire County Cup    Kick Off : 19:30 Potters beat Sporting Khalsa in showpiece final STOKE CITY LADIES retained the Staffordshire FA County Cup trophy with a 4-1 win over Sporting Khalsa in the Final at Silkmore Lane last night. Goals from Jamilla Palmer, Faye McCoy, Abby Hunt and Ashleigh Hayes ensured the Potters remained unbeaten in the competition for an eighth year. Things couldn't have got off to a better start in Stafford either with City racing into a two- goal lead inside the opening five minutes. The deadlock was broken when Palmer finished confidently past keeper Justine Lewis after showing great control to bring down a superb long range diagonal pass from McCoy. McCoy then turned from provider to goalscorer and unleashed an unstoppable strike into the top right hand corner from 35 yards out to double the advantage. That blistering start allowed the Potters to dictate the pace of the game and it wasn't until four minutes from the break that Hunt netted a third with a comfortable finish following a winding run from deep. The Black Country-based opposition pulled a goal back through Kelly Williams eleven minutes after the restart and had further hope when Nicola Hudson's penalty was saved after a foul in the box on Millie Elson. Stoke's three goal advantage was finally restored, however, when Laura Garside made her way to the byline to pull the ball back for substitute Hayes to convert with thirteen minutes remaining. Victory ensured the trophy was retained for another season and manager Andrew Frost was understandably delighted with the triumph. "It's fantastic to win the County Cup again on what always turns out to be a great occasion for us," he said. "It was an enjoyable night for all of us and I'd like to thank Staffs FA for their organisation of the event. "Credit to the girls as well, we've had three games in five days and we've equipped ourselves very well." There's little time for celebration of the success as the Potters now face Preston North End in all-important league clash at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday. Preston hold a ten-point advantage at the top of the table though with four games in hand on them, Frost knows a positive result could be crucial in cutting that lead. "Our attentions now turn firmly to Sunday's big league game," he added. "They're a strong outfit and it's no surprise that they are where they are in the league. "It's a defining game for both teams and it's vitally important we approach the game in the right manner. "We need to park the cup success now and look for a positive result against Preston."