Lewes FC Girls U16s coach Mark Currier hailed his young players for their “outstanding resilience and determination” after the Sussex side were crowned national champions of a prestigious tournament reserved for league champions across the UK.
The girls won the tournament at Leicester on Sunday, beating Durham in the final following a nerve-jangling penalty shootout. After five penalties the teams had missed one each – but Durham hit the bar with their sixth and Maisie Preston confidently put away the final kick to win the trophy for Lewes.
A delighted Currier said: “I can’t praise them enough for their performances. The standard of the tournament was very high and the team rose to every challenge thrown at them.
“Normally we have the majority of possession in games; however, in a tournament of this quality, we needed to understand that we would have to work hard without the ball on occasions and take our chances as they arose.
“It was a massive learning curve for the girls but their resilience and determination was outstanding and they can be proud of becoming English Champions at this age group.”
Lewes Under 16 girls were crowned national champions following a thrilling competition at Leicester on Sunday.
Playing in the invitation only ACES tournament limited to league champions from across the UK, the girls had to contend with high temperatures as well as a number of tough, competitive teams.
After squeezing through a tough group against home favourites Leicester City, plus Durham, Cambridge City and Bishops Stortford, the girls made it to the quarter finals where their best display of the day so far saw them progress past Hertingfordbury thanks to a Ellie Bonwick goal.
In the semi-final a Molly Miller strike with five minutes to go saw them beat Bishops Stortford, and in another tight game in the final, Lewes came from behind to beat Durham in a penalty shootout after Ellie Ramsauer had converted a late spot kick in normal time.