Mansfield Town Ladies’ Development side defeated Clifton Ladies 5-0 last night to pick up the Nottinghamshire Girls’ and Ladies’ Senior Cup.
Manager Nick Burton’s side secured the incredible victory thanks to a memorable four-goal haul for midfielder Becky Braithwaite before Chloe Shirley put the icing on the cake with a well-taken fifth goal.
The heavy rain made conditions difficult at Calverton Miners Welfare as both sides struggled to take hold of the game in a scrappy and nervy first half.
With chances hard to come by, it was Clifton’s Danielle Sanderson who gave Mansfield a real wake-up call when she jinked her way past two defenders before eventually firing just wide.
That near-miss sparked Mansfield into life and soon after, the Stagettes’ Katie Harper went on a driving run of her own, as she managed to dribble past two defenders but could only fire her effort over when nearing the by-line.
Just before half-time it was Mansfield who finally broke the deadlock. Midfielder Braithwaite picked the ball up on the half-way line, turned and used her explosive power and pace to outmuscle her defender and fire a shot into the bottom corner from outside the box.
With the Stagettes now looking comfortable in possession, it took less than 10 minutes of the second half to double their lead – the goal being a mirror image of the one in the first.
The impressive Braithwaite was again able to pick the ball up around the half-way line before driving forward and hammering a shot into the bottom corner from distance.
Clifton nearly got themselves straight back into the match as only minutes later they forced Charlotte Appleby in the Mansfield goal to make a diving save to her left.
With just over an hour gone, Mansfield put daylight between themselves and Clifton as Becky Braithwaite grabbed her hat-trick.
The Clifton defence looked nervous whenever she picked up the ball and again she found herself in space around the half-way line and for the third time in the match, she was able to dart forward and this time blast it into the opposite corner.
Only four minutes later, the superb Braithwaite scored her fourth goal of the contest. The Clifton defence couldn’t close her down as she went on another powerful charge forward. This time the Clifton ‘keeper managed to get a hand to the ball, but couldn’t prevent it from reaching the back of the net.
With the game looking comfortable following that fourth goal, Mansfield manager Nick Burton chose withdraw Braithwaite from the match, a decision which gave the fans of both teams a chance to applaud her for her quartet of goals.
With the game drawing to a close, Chloe Shirley was able to put the gloss on the occasion for the Stagettes when, in the 90th minute, she was able to run onto a ball over the top, control calmly, before firing it low under the ‘keeper.
Stagettes' lineup: Appleby, Scott, Potter, Ingleby, Lakhani, Kiernan, Hough, Elphick, Braithwaite, Herring, Harper