Deeping United Lionesses Under 12 Girls beat Thorpe Wood Rangers Purples
Deeping United Lionesses Under 12 Girls claimed a Northamptonshire Cup scalp as they defeated Thorpe Wood Rangers Purples in a thrilling penalty shoot-out.
Undeterred by the divisional hierarchy, the Lionesses began with a fiery zeal, orchestrating sublime passing moves that signified not just skill, but an unyielding spirit.
Wingers Matilda Walker and Hannah Cradock were relentless, turning the Thorpe Wood defence inside out with their dazzling runs.
Despite their dominance and territorial advantage, the Lionesses were unable to break the deadlock.
Lilly Mitson’s thunderbolt from distance was a moment of brilliance, only matched by an equally spectacular save from the Thorpe Wood goalkeeper.
Thorpe Wood, seizing a moment against the run of play, netted a stunner from distance, leaving the Lionesses trailing as the half-time whistle blew.
The resilience of the Lionesses’ defence, led by captain Libbi MacGregor alongside Bea Greenham and Bella Curtis, was a testament to their unyielding character.
The second half saw the Lionesses roaring back with renewed vigour.
Hannah Cradock emerged as the heroine, her left-footed strike finding the back of the net and reigniting the Lionesses' hope.
Ivy Roberts was instrumental in midfield, disrupting Thorpe Wood's rhythm and setting the stage for potential victory.
Substitutes Matilda Knowles, Jules Kelsey, and Erin Bundock added fresh energy and strategic depth to the game.
Their impact, particularly in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the penalty shootout, was noteworthy.
Jules Kelsey's composed penalty was a standout moment, demonstrating her coolness under pressure.
Imogen Nightingale, in her role as striker, kept the Thorpe Wood defence constantly engaged, creating spaces and opportunities through her persistent efforts.
Her relentless pressure played a key role in maintaining offensive momentum for the Lionesses.
The drama escalated when Lionesses' goalkeeper Madison Lethbridge was sidelined due to injury and Lilly Mitson bravely stepped into the role between the posts.
The match, locked at 1-1, escalated to a penalty shootout where Mitson embodied courage.
Despite missing her penalty, she redeemed herself with a crucial save. The pendulum swung with each penalty, with Thorpe Wood gaining and losing the advantage in quick succession.
The shootout reached a crescendo in sudden death. Libbi MacGregor’s flawless penalty was a thing of beauty, and then Lilly Mitson, now the embodiment of heroism, denied Thorpe Wood, sealing a victory for the Lionesses in the most dramatic fashion.
The Under 14s bowed out of the county competition after losing to AFC Rushden & Diamonds while the Under 13s were beaten by Lincoln United
The Under 9s and 10s have no scheduled fixtures now until the new year.