Birmingham Challenge Cup final report | Wolves 4-4 Rugby Borough (3-4 pens)

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 Women fell to a penalty shootout defeat to Rugby Borough in the Birmingham Challenge Cup final at the Pirelli Stadium, despite a dramatic comeback in normal time.

Borough found themselves ahead in the 11th minute after a nervy start from the Old Gold when Lily Greenslade slotted into the far corner. Lee Burch's side made their possession count just before half-time and doubled their advantage through Lucy Whipp, who converted from close range.

The second half took a hectic turn as the Old Gold pulled a goal back inside four minutes following a Tammi George wonder strike. With 20 minutes remaining, Greenslade got her second of the evening, but Wolves won a penalty with just over five minutes remaining, and Anna Morphet slotted home from the spot. Minutes later, Wolves pulled level when Ellie Wilson smashed home from close range.

In dramatic fashion, Rugby Borough got a fourth in additional time through Nicky Potts, but Wolves didn't give in as they found the fourth and final goal in the sixth minute of additional time in a goal-line scramble, which Jade Cross managed to poke in to send the tie to penalties. And Rugby prevailed in the shootout, scoring all four of their spot-kicks to lift the trophy and deny Wolves a third successive crowd.

Rugby Borough started the brighter of the two sides, Yasmin Mosby received a ball into the box before taking a touch and firing a shot low and hard towards the bottom corner inside the opening five minutes, but Bec Thomas was on hand to clear the danger.

The Old Gold's first attempt of the night came minutes later when Liv Fergusson picked up a cross-field pass and drove towards the box before laying it off to Amber Hughes, whose shot went just wide.

Borough broke the deadlock just past the 10-minute mark when they worked the ball well out wide before Greenslade was played through in the box and slotted into the far corner.

Wolves were pushing for the equaliser, and Beth Merrick found herself in acres of space out wide and attempted an audacious attempt from range, which Erin Foley only managed to parry away for a corner.

Alanah Mann carried the ball to just inside the Wolves half just past the half-hour mark and attempted a long-range shot which cleared everyone, but Thomas tipped it over the bar.

Just before the break, Wolves went close to the equaliser when Merrick drove a low cross across the box, which arrived at the feet of Beth Roberts, but her effort flew over the bar.

In additional time, Rugby Borough doubled their advantage when Mosby broke down the right-hand side and delivered a low cross to Whipp in the heart of the box who powered the ball into the bottom corner.

Half-time | Wolves 0-2 Rugby Borough

Wolves made the perfect start to the second half and pulled a goal back inside the opening four minutes through George, who picked up the ball high before releasing a rocket of a shot from just outside the box, which curled into the top corner.

The Old Gold kept the pressure on their opponents and came close to bringing the scores level just before the hour mark when Merrick whipped in a teasing corner ball into the middle of the area, which Morphet rose highest for, but her effort went narrowly over the bar.

Borough found their third of the evening with just under 20 minutes remaining when Ebony Wiseman played through Greenslade in the box for the forward to tuck away neatly into the far corner.

Wolves were awarded a penalty with just under 10 remaining as Wilson was fouled in the box following a corner, Morphet then stepped up to the spot and converted to give Dan McNamara’s side hope.

And the Old Gold’s fight didn't stop there as Merrick stood up a cross to the front post in the last minute of regular time, and Wilson ran onto the ball to fire home and level.

In another twist, Rugby Borough then thought they found the decisive goal in the second minute of additional time when Potts managed to find the back of the net after driving a low ball into the far corner.

But Wolves didn't give in and, for the third time, found another equaliser four minutes later. The move originated from a free-kick as Wilson's headed effort was blocked on the line but, after a blocked Hughes attempt and a goal-line scramble, the ball was poked in by substitute J. Cross.

There was a lengthy delay minutes after the Old Gold's equaliser as George was involved in a nasty collision before being stretched off with a head injury.

The game was then taken to a penalty shoot-out, which Wolves took first and converted through Morphet but unfortunately fell to defeat after two misses, with Rugby Borough converting all four as they went on 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).


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.

Report by Jordan Preece