A close and fluctuating encounter between Kent and Staffordshire in the semi-finals of the ESFA Under 14 Girls Trophy saw Kent eventually triumph on penalties.
Maidstone United’s splendid new Gallagher Stadium provided a fitting venue for a game that was an excellent advert for the quality of girls’ football at this level. Kent fell behind to an early goal, but were unlucky not to equalise midway through the first half when a free-kick from Alessia Russo struck the post. The home team raised their game after half-time, and went ahead with goals from Alessia Russo and Miri Taylor. Just when it looked as though Kent had booked a place in the final, a goalmouth scramble resulted in Staffordshire drawing level in the last minute.
Extra time produced no more goals, so the game went to penalties. Miri Taylor, Alessia Russo, Jade Tinsley, Sammy Booker, Jessica Carpanini, , Rachel Harney and Alexis Hobbs all showed great composure to score from the spot, but it was goalkeeper Molly Povey who was the Kent heroine, making two excellent diving saves to take her team through to the final.
Kent now await news of their opponents in the national final, and the outcome of the other semi-final between Lancashire and Essex or Surrey.