By Joe Harston
A combined South/Trevs team dispatched Josephine Butler 3-1 to claim the 2022 Floodlit Cup. It truly has been a match made in heaven for reigning Women’s Football Floodlit Cup champions Trevelyan, and newly-formed Hill neighbours South.
Trevs returned to Maiden Castle hoping to retain their title, whereas their South colleagues went into the match hoping to make history in their college’s first ever sporting final.
The game got off to a very cagey start. With a congested midfield, both sides used their wings to find a way through, but the respective full-backs seemed more than capable of dealing with the early threat.
This caused Butler to attempt a few long balls over the top to exploit the high line of South/Trevs. In very rainy conditions, this method looked promising as the ball moved quickly along the surface although the opportunistic attacking partnership of Emily Baker and Katie Shingler struggled to make it work against a rigid South/Trevs defence.
Keeva Whyte and Liz Hendrickz appeared to be South/Trevs’ main source of attacking threat and they moved forward in a contrasting way to their Butler counterparts. A lot of quick passes and movement from the pair did appear dangerous but the confident Butler captain between the sticks, Georgina Solly, was frequently off her line in good time to quash many of their chances.
Eventually the pairing found the breakthrough. Whyte won the battle with Katherine Evans on the left-hand side of the box. She lifted it through a crowd to the feet of Hendrickz. A flawless first touch gave her the space for a simple finish to put South/Trevs into the lead.
Just two minutes later, Hendrickz attempted to add another to her tally. Approaching from the left-hand side she fired from a tight angle but Solly wasn’t to be beaten at her front post. Hendrickz’s resulting in-swinging corner found its way through the crowd, ricocheting in off the back post. Another worrying sign for Butler that they were losing their grip on the tie.
The warning signs pointed towards another South/ Trevs goal and that’s certainly what followed: this time from a set-piece. The cross swung out towards Katie Keillor whose header looped over the cluster of defenders into the far top corner of the Butler net. An excellently placed header that Solly couldn’t have any hope of saving.
Unfortunately for Butler, the onslaught was not over and this nightmare ten minutes would soon get worse. Hendrickz continued to run rings around the Butler defence and she eventually laid it off to Whyte. Playing with serious confidence, the striker let fly from range and it flew into the back of the net. This left Butler to deal with the shock of conceding three in 10 minutes.
Half-time loomed and the South/Trevs threat was somewhat nullified. Shortly before the break Butler attacker, Baker was taken off due to what looked like a nasty head injury.
Butler will have been very pleased with their second half improvement, making a breakthrough of their own early on. After a very dominant display from Trevs captain Megan Morris in the first half she finally lost a battle to Shingler. The Butler attacker just managed to hold her off after getting on the end of a through ball. Placing a delicate finish into the far corner of Anya Nash’s goal. Was this the start of a comeback?
Well, they certainly looked more promising than the first half by starting to incorporate the midfield more in attacking phases, yet the South/Trevs defence was not fazed by conceding at all. They looked sure to hold on to their lead.
As South/Trevs began to attack once more, they caused issues from yet another corner. South captain, Caitlin Ellis, made her way into the scramble quite late. With the ball taken off her toe as she tried to finish, she fell to ground. Cries for a penalty from the crowd but the referee, quite rightly, waved them away.
As expected, the tempo slowed right down and South/Trevs were able to hold on for the glory, making history for their respective colleges.
Speaking to PalTV post-match, Ellis said that her colleges first win “will help build the community and encourage more people to get involved in football.”
Butler captain Solly expressed the pride she had for her team especially after having to train on a concrete netball court for the duration of the season.
So with two consecutive Floodlit titles to their name, Trevelyan College is very much cementing itself as the home of women’s football at Durham, with the crucial assistance, of course, from South’s Owlesses.
Image: Joe Harston