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Wolves Women suffered a penalty shootout loss to Rugby Borough in the Birmingham Challenge Cup final at the Pirelli Stadium, despite mounting a dramatic comeback in normal time.

Wolves 4 (George 49, Morphet pen 84, Wilson 89, J. Cross 90+6) Rugby Borough 4 (Greenslade 11, 73, Whipp 45+4, Potts 90+2)


Wolves | Thomas, Wilson, Morphet, George (Hiscox 90+22), Hughes, Holmes (J. Cross 66), Johnson, Fergusson (E. Cross 90+1), Roberts (Fryer 85), Bramford, Merrick. Unused subs | Marriott.

Rugby Borough | Foley, Mann, Morris (Curwood-Wagner 69), Nixon, Greenslade (Camwell 86), Wiseman, Potts (Malone 90+4), Whipp, Morris, Robert, Mosby (Wallace 69). Unused subs | Walker.

Rugby Borough took an early lead in the 11th minute when Lily Greenslade slotted the ball into the far corner. Lee Burch’s side capitalised on their possession just before halftime, doubling their advantage through Lucy Whipp’s close-range finish.

The second half took a chaotic turn as the Wolves pulled one back within four minutes thanks to Tammi George’s wonder strike. With 20 minutes remaining, Greenslade scored her second, but Wolves won a penalty with just over five minutes left, and Anna Morphet converted from the spot. Shortly after, Ellie Wilson smashed in the equaliser from close range.

In dramatic fashion, Rugby Borough regained the lead in added time through Nicky Potts, but Wolves refused to give up, finding the fourth goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time through a goal-line scramble that Jade Cross poked in to force penalties. However, Rugby prevailed in the shootout, scoring all four of their spot-kicks to lift the trophy and deny Wolves a third successive crown.

Rugby Borough made the brighter start, with Yasmin Mosby firing a low, hard shot towards the bottom corner in the opening five minutes, but Bec Thomas cleared the danger.

The Wolves’ first attempt came shortly after when Liv Fergusson drove towards the box and laid the ball off to Amber Hughes, whose shot went just wide.

Borough broke the deadlock just past the 10-minute mark when Greenslade slotted in after a well-worked move down the flank.

Wolves pushed for the equaliser, and Beth Merrick found space out wide, attempting an audacious long-range effort that Erin Foley parried away for a corner.

Alanah Mann carried the ball into the Wolves half and tried a long-range shot that Thomas tipped over the bar.

Just before halftime, Wolves went close when Merrick’s low cross found Beth Roberts, but her effort flew over the bar.

In added time, Rugby Borough doubled their lead when Mosby broke down the right and delivered a low cross for Whipp to power in from the heart of the box.

Half-time | Wolves 0-2 Rugby Borough

Wolves got off to a flying start in the second half, pulling a goal back within the opening four minutes through George, who received the ball and unleashed a rocket of a shot from just outside the box, curling it into the top corner.

The Old Gold kept the pressure on and nearly equalised just before the hour mark when Merrick whipped in a teasing corner, which Morphet met with a header that narrowly went over the bar.

Borough made it 3-0 with around 20 minutes left, as Ebony Wiseman played through Greenslade in the box, who tucked it away neatly into the far corner.

Wolves were awarded a penalty with 10 minutes remaining after Wilson was fouled in the box following a corner. Morphet stepped up and converted to give Dan McNamara’s side hope.

The Old Gold’s fight continued as Merrick delivered a cross to the front post in the last minute, and Wilson fired home to level the scores.

In a twist, Rugby Borough thought they had won it in the second minute of added time when Potts drove a low ball into the far corner. But Wolves equalised again four minutes later. A free-kick led to a goal-line scramble, and substitute J. Cross poked the ball in.

There was a lengthy delay after George suffered a nasty collision and head injury, requiring her to be stretchered off.

The game went to penalties, which Wolves took first through Morphet. But they fell to defeat after two misses, with Rugby Borough converting all four to lift the Challenge Cup.

Full-time: Wolves 4-4 Rugby Borough (Rugby win 4-3 on penalties)


Wolves | Morphet (scores), Bramford (misses), Hughes (scores), Johnson (scores), Merrick (saved).

Rugby Borough | Camwell (scores), Curwood-Wagner (scores), Wiseman (scores), Whipp (scores).



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