Aveley 0-4 Bowers & Pitsea (Under 16s Girls Cup Final)

Under 16s Girls Cup Glory for Bowers & Pitsea

Aveley 0-4 Bowers & Pitsea, Sunday 3rd March 2024, Kick-Off 1:00pm, Aveley FC, Essex Under 16s Girls Cup Final.

Goals from Daisy Warren (2), Aryanna Adesan and Ayla Izzet secured Essex Under 16s Girls Cup Final glory for Bowers & Pitsea with a 4-0 triumph over Aveley, and Manager, Steven Keys, believes this team have the potential to go a long way, with more of his players ready to take the step into open-age football.

Warren put Bowers into a 28th-minute lead then Adesan, Warren again and Izzet converted in the second half to emerge past a determined Aveley team. Several of the Bowers players already have women’s football experience, and Keys believes more of the successful squad will soon progress for consideration further along the female pathway.

“We've already got one of our players out today that's played a couple of times for our ladies Reserve Team,” he explained. “As soon as they hit 16, I'll get them signed up for the ladies side and, when called upon, they pick up the reins and they will go and play. But the ones that are ready are joining in. They're training with the ladies and they're playing ladies football.”

Bowers were previous winners of this competition in 2022/23, when their Under 16s defeated Keys’ own Under 15s, 4-3, in an entertaining final. And they had to progress the hard way this season, too, emerging from a top-of-the-table clash with Barking, 6-1, in the last four of the cup. Warren and Adesan were amongst the goals again in the final, just like they were in that semi, and they continued to prove they’re a real threat for any defence.

Keys reflected on a very momentous day for this particular set of players: “It's been a tough, tough year getting here this year. It was our third year on the trot here, narrowly missing out last year to our Under 16s in the All-Bowers final, so to come back a year later and win it is great. I think Aryanna is ruthless, Demi's ruthless [Hetherington], and Daisy when they're on their game. You can stop them for so long, but you won't stop them for 80 minutes. Absolutely buzzing for them.”

This match was the second of a trio of #GirlsFinalsDay games at Aveley FC, a festival which has become a regular opener to the Essex County FA’s County Cup Final campaign each season. The sides had only conceded one goal between them in the whole competition to this point, so it was no surprise that there were very few clear openings in the initial stages of the first half. It was Bowers who registered the first strike on goal.

Hetherington had scored hat-tricks in two previous rounds en-route to the final. This time she was nearly a provider, slipping Aryanna Adesan clean through, slightly to the left of centre, though her effort lacked the power to trouble Aveley goalkeeper, Jessica Deans. On 23 minutes, a free kick from Bowers’ Lexi Ashton wasn’t held by Deans, and Warren was in close proximity, attempting to capitalise, though the ball was gathered just in time at the second attempt.

Five minutes later, the deadlock was broken. Some neat build-up saw Warren progress in-between defenders and strike low and hard from the right, past the goalkeeper and into the far bottom corner. Warren exhibited the confidence she’s gained since arriving at the club last year. Following a well-contested half, the sides were only split by that solitary goal.

Shortly after the interval, Adesan twisted and turned, but shot wide across the face of goal from the right. Though she wasn’t to be denied on 44 minutes as she robbed a defender of the ball, advanced into the penalty area and gave Deans no chance as she side footed past her into the net.

Three minutes later, the prolific Adesan turned provider. She nodded the ball down in front of herself on the right-hand side and squared to Warren at the far post. Deans, who’s attracted interest from along the England Talent Pathway in only her second season between the sticks, couldn’t quite keep her shot out, and it was 3-0.

Aveley continued to fight, and they were almost rewarded with eight minutes remaining as a chance was presented for a consolation. Recent squad addition Emily Quinlan sprinted through with only ‘keeper Amelia Kelly to beat, but her effort was a few inches high and wide. However, five minutes from time, a loose ball in the Aveley goalmouth was tapped into an open goal by Ayla Izzet against her former club.

Despite being beaten on the day, Aveley’s recent progress as a team has been notable. They have a previous trio of Under 14s trophies in their cabinet and have, effectively, moved up an age group to compete at Under 16s level this season. Manager Carl Orriss’ squad remain a source of real pride for their club as the only female team, and Keys paid credit to a set of players who worked very hard and provided a test to Bowers for a lot of the game.

“They're a strong opposition, Aveley,” he commented. “They've come up, they're new to our league. We've played them a couple of times, once in the league and once in the League Cup where we beat them a couple of weeks ago, but they don't stop.”

Keys explained that he intended for the team to build on this victory and use it as a springboard to have an even more successful end to the campaign. “We've got some busy games coming up,” he continued. “We're still joint top of the league. We've got to contend for the league and we've got the League Cup semi-final against Great Baddow coming up, which, again, will be tough.”

“Teams set out their teams against us to hold us, and I'm sure there's no difference in those games. But we have to find a way of breaking them down and that's how football evolves, I think. We play hard, we train hard and we get the success at the end of it, I hope.”

Aveley: Jessica Deans, Evie Smyth, Isabelle Foley, Ruby Abela, Olivia Kelly, Lois Evans, Halle Nott, Phoebe Orriss, Holly Denwood, Gracie Oxby, Layla Mitchell. Substitutes: Lydia Dennison, Brody Brownlie, Emily Quinlan, Isla Sullivan, Maisie Abbott. Manager: Carl Orriss.

Bowers & Pitsea: Amelia Kelly, Tayla Judd, Kaltrina Ibrahimi, Lexi Ashton, Jessica McCrae, Molly Dodd, Kiera Keys, Florence Russell, Aryanna Adesan, Demi Hetherington, Lilly Brice. Substitutes: Rebecca Harcourt, Niamh Carpenter, Ayla Izzet, Olivia Potton, Daisy Warren. Manager: Steven Keys.

Referee: Lacey Armstrong (Havering).

Assistant Referees: Charmaine Bent (Newham) and Harry Sanderson (Brentwood).

Fourth Official: Stephen Smith (Chelmsford).

Attendance: 234.

post-match reaction and action photos

Video and photos from the big match...

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