The 2021-22 Representative Squads’ season ended with a mixture of disappointment and pride on 28th May after the Girls’ teams played Kent in a double-header of South-East regional Finals at Ramsgate FC. Although the Seaxes didn’t return home with either trophy, both Middlesex teams performed admirably and could consider themselves a little unfortunate to have ended on the losing side.
The first match saw the U14 squads meet for the Essex Cup. Middlesex had won the last completed edition of the tournament, way back in 2019 and had won or shared the national ESFA Inter-County Trophy in 2019-20 and 2020-21; Kent had succeeded the Seaxes as national champions earlier this month, winning the inaugural ESFA Champions Cup (which Middlesex in any age groups did not enter due to the change of format away from a traditional knockout competition).
Given that the two Counties have such a strong pedigree in girls’ football, a close game was expected, and the two teams obliged. An absorbing and keenly contested match was decided by a single goal; that goal was scored by Kent, meaning the Two Blues added the regional title to their national crown.
The second match saw the two Counties’ Under-16 teams go head-to-head. Middlesex went into the Victoria Dodds Trophy Final with a much-changed side; several players were missing due to a clash of fixtures. Their opponents were looking to secure the regional title and bounce back from the disappointment of having been defeated in their Champions Cup Final.
The Seaxes may have had to shuffle their squad, but they gave as good as they got against an excellent team. This game was just as close as the U14 match had been, but in an entirely different way; where a single goal had split the younger teams, six were shared in normal time of the U16 Final.
With the scores locked at 3-3 after 80 minutes play, extra time would be required to determine the regional championship. During the additional 20 minutes, the home side proved too strong, eventually scoring twice to run out winners by 5-3.
Although Middlesex were unable to claim either of the titles they fought for on the day, every single player did themselves proud and we congratulate them all on their performances not just in the Finals, but throughout the season. The Association also wishes to thank the parents and carers who have supported the girls and the coaches for their tremendous hard work and commitment.
We also congratulate our friends from Kent on their performances on the day and thank both the Kent Schools’ FA and Ramsgate FC for staging an excellent day of football at a superb venue. Photos from both games are available to purchase from ESA Photos.
The trip to Southwood Stadium draws 2021-22 to a close but planning for next season is already well underway; trials for Boys teams will be held in June, with the Girls’ trials following in early July.