This year’s Women’s Cup final was played at Poltair Park, home of St Austell Women. Helston Athletic faced Liskeard Athletic and a fantastic atmosphere developed around the stadium early in the evening with plenty anticipation for what promised to be a hard-fought, even contest.
Spectators crowded around all four sides of the pitch as the players walked out and lined up ahead of kick-off. Helston were looking to retain their crown and make it a cup double after the men’s side had lifted the Cornwall Senior Cup on Easter Monday. Those ambitions got an early boost when a lofted ball into the box was headed on and into the path of Liz O’Reilly. Left one-on-one with the ‘keeper, she took a moment to steady herself before firing home for an early 1-0 lead (8’). Helston soon had a second as they threatened to run away with the tie. This time the ball fell to Katy Barker-Thomas in the box and she squeezed her shot past the goalkeeper at the near post (25’) to double the advantage.
Down but not deterred, Liskeard had played better than the 2-0 deficit suggested and they soon managed to get a foothold in the game. Chasing what looked like a lost cause, winger Chloe Williams managed to get in front of the Helston defender, outmuscling her and carrying the ball towards goal. A confident strike to the goalkeeper’s right (31’) halved the deficit.
Liskeard took confidence from the goal and began to take control of the game. They completed the comeback just twelve minutes later as Williams, who gave Helston a torrid time all evening, surged into the box and played a teasing ball low into the box. The goalkeeper couldn’t quite get there and it fell to Gabi Alphous for a tap-in – and the equaliser! (43’)
Having only got back on level terms just before the break, Liskeard came out firing in the second half. Helston goalkeeper Emily Full came off her line to punch the ball but it only got as far as Liskeard midfielder Charlie Pettinger, lurking just outside the box. With a sea of red and yellow shirts between her and the goal, she lifted her shot over the crowd and into the back of the net to give her side the lead for the first time – quite the turnaround! (50’)
It was Liskeard’s to lose now, and they were the better side for much of the second half. Controlling possession, they looked to carve out further chances - particularly down the right flank where Williams looked to get in behind time and time again.
Attendance was announced as 423, a fantastic crowd and a testament to the strength of women’s and girls’ football in Cornwall. The fans watched on as Liskeard scrapped for every ball, not allowing Helston a way back into the game. There was, however, one last chance for Helston as they broke through on goal in the dying minutes, but Liskeard recovered well to snuff out the danger. With that, the final whistle blew and Liskeard Athletic were able to celebrate their first Cornwall Women’s Cup title!
Full-time: Helston Athletic 2-3 Liskeard Athletic
Congratulations to Liskeard on a fantastic performance to turn the final on its head and lift the trophy. Commiserations to Helston, who missed out on the day but have nevertheless enjoyed a memorable cup run and a fantastic season atop the Earthbound Electrical Cornwall Women’s League.
Cornwall FA would also like to thank today’s match officials and our hosts AFC St Austell – your volunteers were an absolute credit to the club. Our thanks also go to this year’s sponsors of the Women’s Cup, MH Goals.
Finally, a massive thank you to everyone in attendance. We hope you enjoyed what was a really special occasion and a great showcase of football in the county.