GARSTANG Ladies played Lytham 1sts in the Calley Cup Final at Stanley Park, Blackpool, on Saturday.
This was the culmination of the season, with the top two teams in the Lancs Central Premier League meeting in the final after sharing honours in the league.
Garstang were missing key forwards Fran Summers and Becky Goldsmith, and that placed them at a significant disadvantage.
Lytham came at Garstang right from the off and were passing well, but rapidly discovered that the Garstang defence of Sarah Skelton (SJ) in goal, Donna Richardson, skipper Lindsay Norton and Sarah Muir were rock solid and on great form.
Gradually, Garstang came back at Lytham and won their first corner after five minutes. A shot on goal was parried by the keeper, but Lily Helme pounced on the rebound and put the sweetest flick against the back board for the opening goal.
The game then swung back and forward, with the speedy young attack of Lytham battering against Garstang defence. Up front for Garstang, Lily Helme was more than matching the pace of the Lytham players and young Di Roe supporting her.
Grace Holder was also playing flat out and never slowed throughout the game – charging on a solo run up the right wing and going close to hitting the target.
After 13 minutes SJ made the first of several great saves at a Lytham penalty corner and seemed to be revelling in the pressure. But after 32 minutes, Lytham scored from a raised ball in the D across the keeper, that made life very difficult for SJ, to make it 1-1 at half time.
Five minutes into the second period SJ made another great save in the Garstang goal.
After 15 minutes Lily Helme made a good break from the Garstang half and her pace carried her to a one-on- one with the Lytham keeper, but the final shot went wide.
A little later the same player incensed at an unpunished foul found herself in the sin-bin for five minutes for attempted retaliation.
While she was off Lytham won two penalty corners but failed to convert. After 19 minutes, Donna Richardson cleared the ball neatly away from a Lytham penalty corner.
After 25 minutes, Garstang nearly scored through Jude Chapman but, with just seconds left to play and Garstang anticipating the advantage SJ in goal would give them at penalty flicks, Lytham broke away to score a cruel winner to crush Garstang’s hopes.