By Liam Moakes 24/05 Updated: 24/05 12:28
IT WAS a historic day for Redditch United Girls Football Club Women as they won the Birmingham County League Open Cup for the first time on Sunday.
The triumph was sealed in dramatic fashion as the Reds prevailed in a penalty shoot-out against Bilbrook Ladies in what was their first appearance in the final since the creation of an open age team under the banner of RUGFC six years ago.
Bilbrook began the match at Earlswood's Rumbush Stadium as favourites having won the league title and earned promotion to the West Midlands Regional Southern League, but this was not reflected in the game as Redditch always looked the better team.
Bilbrook, as always, were physical and defended very well to see off a number of Redditch chances, aided by some good fortune which saw goalline clearances and the woodwork prevent them going behind in the game.
At the other end, Kirsty Grigg in the Redditch goal also made two great stops in a first half that remained goalless.
The second period saw Bilbrook start the more dominant but Redditch continued to play purposeful football and neat play down the right wing from Kerry Badger allowed Jess Lingham to flight a perfect cross to the feet of Natalie Leroux, who calmly slotted the ball past the Bilbrook keeper to put the Reds ahead.
Bilbrook had few chances until a Redditch corner was intercepted and a quick break saw the Redditch defence outnumbered and the equalising goal arrived.
Further chances came from both teams but again the woodwork and good goalkeeping prevented any further score.
Redditch had the better of extra time and always the more likely to score, remarkably having not played competitively since the semi-final on March 25.
The sides could not be separated though and it went to penalties. After eight taken by Redditch and four converted, it was down to Bilbrook to score to keep the contest alive but a terrific save by Grigg diving full stretch to her right won the cup for the Reds and rounded off a very entertaining and successful game and season.
Thanks go to all the spectators that travelled to support the players and management, who truly appreciate it.
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