It is a dream scenario in football….
A young team grows up together, wins junior and youth trophies galore and then becomes the club first XI.
That is pretty much how it’s been working out for Clwb Peldroed Merched Bethel.
The senior team playing every Sunday this season in North Wales Women’s League Division One (when the weather allows!) contains several of the side which won a host of silverware with the junior elevens in past years.
One of their greatest days was the North Wales Girls League Cup Final in May 2018, when Ben Bolton and Lenny Jones’ side beat RCF Wrexham 2-0 in the final.
Scorer of both goals that day was Erin Maloney – currently the top markswoman in the entire North Wales League.
This report was supplied at the time by a superb budding scribe named Benjamin Owen Bolton – wonder what happened to him?
Bethel 2 (Maloney 2)
RCF Wrexham 0
North Wales Girls League Under-16 Cup Final
Bethel Under-16 girls football team are the toast of their community after winning the league cup.
The village side defeated RCF Wrexham 2-0 in last Saturday’s final to lift the coveted trophy.
After a warm up in the 20 degree heat, the game began at a frantic pace, as Bethel began their pressing game high up the pitch and putting RCF’s players under pressure.
Jody Cain, Katie Houghton and Yasmin Williams took control of the game in midfield, winning and retaining possession and attempting to play Bethel’s dangerous front line in behind.
After 10 minutes Bethel’s intense start and pressure paid off. Catrin Evans ran down the left wing before cutting back inside and playing a pass into Yasmin Williams, whose first-time release cut straight through the defence and sent top scorer Erin Maloney through on goal.
Maloney took one look up and from a tight angle sent her shot over the goalkeeper’s head and straight into the top left corner to send the crowd into a frenzy and give Bethel a dream start.
The goal seemed to kick RCF into gear as they came out fighting. They kept the ball well and patiently tried to cut Bethel open but the maroon side’s defence held firm as Anest Roberts and Llio Henshaw were in fine form denying any threat.
But as RCF threw bodies forward trying to find and equaliser they left themselves open to counter attacks.
Bethel’s keeper picked up a tame effort and quickly sent her kick downfield.
The ball was left to bounce in the middle of midfield and as it did it evaded RCF’s defence completely, but the dangerous Maloney anticipated the bounce and charged towards the ball.
As a foot race begun between the striker and on rushing goalkeeper, there was only ever going to be one winner, Maloney delicately chipping the ball over the stranded goalie into the empty net to double Bethel’s lead and to score her 47th goal in just 17 games.
RCF’s heads went down and Bethel began to dominate and create chances.
Houghton and Catrin Evans both went close with efforts on goal. Evans then played a ball through the middle to release striker Nel Jones, who lashed her left-footed strike into the far right stanchion, but her celebrations were cut short as the linesman on the far side had his flag raised.
Bethel went into the half time break with the lead but knew the game was still in the balance.
RCF’s team talk must have been an inspiring one as their team came out all guns blazing, but despite their best efforts, could not break down Bethel’s solid back line. Erin Allen Jones made a fine save to deny a headed effort to keep Bethel in front.
Bethel switched to a back five to solidify their lead with 20 minutes remaining and it worked. RCF looked tired as they had every chance snuffed out and couldn’t match the maroons’ physicality as the game slowly faded away from them.
Bethel were clinical and precise in every challenge and pass and their desire and hunger made it impossible for RCF to find a way through.
With the final whistle imminent, Bethel hammered any loose ball down the pitch, and with a few minutes remaining, Maloney found herself through on goal, but her chance of a hat-trick was denied by a smart save.
As the final whistle blew, the Bethel faithful erupted as the players celebrated another cup win to add to their illustrious cabinet.
Erin Allen Jones