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Billericay Town ended their long wait for county silverware as they came from behind to beat C & K Basildon 3-1 and lift the Essex Under 16s Girls Cup.
Having dominated league football in recent seasons, a County Cup success had eluded the side managed by Dave Barrett, including a surprise defeat in the Under 14s final two years ago. But, this time, his side made no mistake with Freya Fuller, Bryony Barron and Sienna Sherman scoring the goals to turn the tie around after Amelie Johnson had given C & K a second-half lead.
“It’s our fourth attempt and we were made to work hard to win the game,” said Dave after the match. “C & K played a great game and kept a solid back line and we found it hard to get through in the first half. It took conceding a goal to spark us into life but, once we got going, we got three goals and finally we can bring home that trophy.”
Turning games around is something Dave’s side has become accustomed too and he was grateful his side could lean on those experiences: “It’s happened a couple of times this season and you always look for the response from the team. Luckily today they responded in the right way.”
“There’s a lot of character in the team and there are some players who have got a lot of experience through Essex PDC, Essex RTC and Essex Schools, so they’re a team who have got a lot of character. When it goes wrong, they’ve got to respond and, if they don’t, they know there’s no result at the end, so I was proud of the way they came back.”
The first half was a largely uneventful affair, although there were two early chances for Billericay with Hannah Humm curling a shot just off-target and Bryony Barran heading wide at the far post from Robyn Moody’s corner. C & K then grabbed the lead four minutes after the restart as Johnson spun and fired in from six yards.
Billericay responded swiftly and were back on terms within three minutes. Fuller capitalised on a defensive slip and slotted home. Fuller then looped a header inches over the top before the tie was turned around on the hour mark when Barron rifled a shot high into the net.
The decisive third goal arrived eight minutes from time as Mya Turner played an exquisite through ball to Sherman, who finished well. The goal sealed the win for Dave’s side and, as the side celebrates triumph at Under 16s level, the boss is already looking ahead: “Possibly we’ll move into Under 18s,” said the manager. “We’ve got some decisions to make.”
“We’re looking to expand again next season and we’re looking to bring in two or three more teams. Some of the girls have had Reserve and First Team experience and maybe they want to do a bit of that, so it could be a different side.”
Billericay Town: Gemma Crowe, Maya Croft, Bryony Barran, Robyn Moody, Frankie Hendricks, Hannah Humm, Mya Turner, Freya Fuller, Charlotte Dance, Sadie Barrett, Sienna Sherman. Substitutes (repeated): Maisie Donovan, Grace Greenway, Leah Knight, Maya Downing, Emma Walpole.
C & K Basildon: Hana Fountain, Emily Clogg, Ellice Catling, Zoe Johnstone, Holy Ling, Amelie Johnson, Katie Nuding, Megan Sutherland, Abbigale Ridgway, Charlotte Williams, Ruby Kilden. Substitutes (repeated): Katie Burbridge, Ella Townsley, Katie Reeves.
Referee: Ashley Howard (Colchester).
Assistant Referees: Amber Amey (Basildon) and Molly Patch (Southend-on-Sea).
Fourth Official: Ken Richbell (Epping Forest).