Dream day for Bedwell Rangers
Bedwell Rangers from Stevenage completed a dream day out at Leicester City s Walkers Stadium by winning the Tesco under-16 Girls Cup in the English national final. The Home Counties League side booked their place in the final as Rebecca Day s strike gave
Bedwell Rangers from Stevenage completed a dream day out at Leicester City's Walkers Stadium by winning the Tesco under-16 Girls' Cup in the English national final.
The Home Counties League side booked their place in the final as Rebecca Day's strike gave them a 1-0 victory against Manchester United girls.
And The Priory School pupil Day was again the star in the final as she bagged a double in the 2-0 success against Gloucestershire side St Nicholas Youth.
That sends Bedwell through to the UK final at the City of Manchester Stadium but manager Steve Jones admitted that will be one of the last times the girls play together.
He said: "From next season, the FA are introducing a rule that means they cannot play for a club side and an academy side.
"That's going to rip the core out of this side and I think you will see a lot of girls' sides all over the country having to fold.
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"Why should they have to choose between playing with their friends and a club's academy where they may only get 20 minutes football a week?
"I think in the first semi-final we were nervous - who would not be in a 30,000 capacity stadium? But in the final it all came together and they played superbly.
"It has been the best moment of my life and I am sure this is something they will remember for the rest of their lives."
After a hard-fought semi-final, Bedwell dominated the final with Day giving them the lead early on when her shot cannoned off the bar and over the line.
And just before the break, Day got her and Rangers' second superbly heading in Shanice O'Sullivan's cross.
The 15 year old missed a chance for her hat-trick when she fired a penalty wide after a handball in the box, and only an excellent save from St Nicholas stopper Abigail Evans stopped Day claiming a treble.
Her three goals saw her crowned striker of the tournament by England's most capped player Peter Shilton (pictured) and he was quick to praise the livewire forward.
Shilton said: "Rebecca obviously has a natural eye for goal and it is just a shame she missed out on her hat-trick.
"She was a constant nuisance for the defence and when the opportunities came her way she took them. Bedwell deserved their victory and now they get to represent England at the UK finals which will be a brilliant experience for them.