Held at St Georges Park on Saturday 4th August
BWFC Women were approached by Birmingham City Community Trust to represent the Blues in the first ever EFL Cup for women. We were invited because one of our members, Sue Hector, was recently involved with Birmingham City Women in organising their 50th birthday celebrations.
The tournament was for over 40s and over 50s teams and, due to holiday commitments, we decided to send just an over 50s team to take part.
We arrived at St Georges Park to find six clubs were entered; Birmingham City, represented by ourselves, Bradford City represented by Rothwell Old Boars over 50s, Lincoln City represented by Lincoln Lady Imps over 40s, Preston North End represented by Preston over 40s and Crawley Town who were represented by Crawley Old Girls over 40s and over 50s. The EFL decided to make the tournament a combined age event with all teams playing each other in a round-robin league format. The top three teams would then play off against each other for the Cup and the bottom three play each other for the Plate, the outcome of each mini-tournament being decided on points and possibly goal difference.
Our first game of the day was against Preston over 40s. BWFC got off to a slow start, taking a few minutes to settle and Kelly O’Donnell in goal was called upon to make a smart save but as time went on, we had more of the play and had a couple of good chances ourselves. However, the allotted 10-minute game finished at 0-0.
Second up were Crawley over 40s and we were one up in a minute with a goal by Sue Moogan. BWFC were dominant throughout with our goalkeeper hardly involved and a second goal from Dee Reade after 7 minutes completed the scoring, the game finishing 2-0 to us.
Our third game was against Bradford and a meeting with Rothwell Old Boars over 50s. We made a change for this game, swapping goalkeeper Kelly with Sally Barber, to allow Kelly to play as an outfield player. What followed was another dominant performance with Sue Moogan scoring 2 minutes in and following up with a further two goals to complete her hat trick and a good 3-0 victory.
Game 4 was against Lincoln over 40s and again, Sally played in goal with Kelly playing as a striker. Sue Moogan scored after 2 mins and Kelly followed up with a second two minutes later. Sue added a third after 7 minutes and a final goal from Kath Broadfield gave BWFC another victory – this time 4-0.
Our final game of this first stage was against Crawley over 50s and we reverted to our original line-up for what we expected to be a tight game. Crawley proved to be stiff opposition – this was a game between two well organised teams with neither giving anything away and it finished a 0-0 draw.
The final table for this part of the day saw Preston finish with 14 points, Birmingham with 11 and Crawley over 50s with 10. These three teams would play each other again for the Cup with Bradford, Lincoln and Crawley over 40s playing for the Plate.
The first game in the Cup competition was Birmingham against Crawley over 50s with an identical outcome to the game in the first part of the competition – a tight 0-0 draw. Immediately, we then played our second game against Preston. This proved to be another close affair with few chances either end but the game was finally decided when Lorraine Robinson scored, giving us a 1-0 victory and a total of 4 points overall. The final game of the day between Crawley and Preston to decide the overall outcome was a tense affair. A 0-0 score would mean we won overall, a Preston victory would mean we won overall, a win of 2-0 or better for Crawley would mean that they won overall and a 1-0 to Crawley would leave us and Crawley all square on points, goal difference and goals scored … and, of course, it finished 1-0 to Crawley!
The final destination of the Cup would rest on a penalty shoot-out between ourselves and Crawley. Dee won the toss and elected for us to go first. Sue Moogan had her shot saved but Crawley’s first penalty was wide so all square after round 1.
Second up for us was Lorraine – who scored to the keeper’s left and Crawley’s second penalty was brilliantly saved by Kelly – advantage Birmingham.
Our final penalty taker was Captain Dee Reade – who scored to the keeper’s right giving us an unassailable 2-0 lead
… and victory! A super day – undefeated and without a single goal being conceded, including in the penalty shoot-out. A brilliant effort from everyone.