Shifnal net success on the Premier stage
The drinks were flowing for the pride of Shropshire football, Shifnal Town Ladies, after they lifted the BT Sport Pub Cup in a thrilling final at Newcastle United.
Shifnal, who were able to enter the competition due to their Acoustafoam Stadium boasting a clubhouse, saw off a late surge from The Golden Hind to win 5-4 at St James’ Park in the national final.
The win was worth £5,000 for Shifnal Town Ladies while a victory at the previous stage had already earned the club a year’s free subscription to BT Sport.
Standard chartered club Shifnal, who had former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis as their celebrity boss in the north east, also gained revenge on their opposition – who were made up of Solihull and Stourbridge Ladies – after they were just pipped to the post in the initial regional round at Molineux.
But Mark Corbett’s side made no mistake this time, despite letting a 5-2 lead slip to 5-4, as they lifted the first ever women’s Pub Cup in front of friends and family.
Maria Bell netted a penalty before an own-goal and efforts from Rebecca Brown, Savannah Howes and Danni Smith capped an afternoon to remember in the north east.
While goalkeeper Terri Henderson, a lifelong Newcastle United supporter, described the experience as the best day of her life.
“It has always been a dream of mine to actually play on the pitch of the team I have supported all my life,” said Henderson. “Meeting Rachel Brown-Finnis, an ex-England goalkeeper was an amazing memory which I won’t forget.
“I love my team and couldn’t be prouder of the effort and how we played together as a team. It was the best day of my life and I will never forget it.”
A long-awaited cup success is the perfect way to cap an impressive year for Shifnal – who experienced heartbreak on more than one occasion during the season, losing out in the finals of the League and County Cup.
They were also runners-up in the West Midlands North.
Delighted chairman Pete Bradley marvelled at the success of the side, adding they have been a ‘credit’ to Shifnal Town and become role models to the younger girls’ sides.
“The ladies joined us a couple of years ago when we had just three teams and have been an absolute credit to the club. The win at St James’ Park was well-deserved,” said Bradley.
“BT Sport put on a wonderful competition and the support they gave to the team was far more than could be imagined, culminating in a day to remember.
“Shifnal Town Football Club have made remarkable progress in the past 12 months, growing from eight teams to 29 for the start of next season, and the girls’ teams now with us have a team they can aspire to.
“The club has achieved FA Charter Standard Community status and is determined, with the help of our main sponsor Acoustafoam, to build on the success of the ladies and several of our other teams and become a major part of Shropshire football.”
BT ensured that Shifnal’s ladies enjoyed the professional experience having made it through two rounds to reach the final. The broadcasters laid on a coach for the squad and families for the 450-mile round trip.
The club were also kitted out with new strips and tracksuits for the occasion, while there was also food for the players and staff after the final.
Boss Corbett continued: “It was a fantastic day.
“We were all so well looked after by BT Sport and what they provide for grassroots clubs is brilliant.
“I had Rachel alongside me. It was great to throw ideas between us and I took any advice given to me. Her knowledge and the way she acts is a massive credit to ladies’ football.
“I thank her for making the day extra special and giving us so much support and encouragement.”