Guiseley Vixens end Bradford’s five-year County Cup reign

County champions, Guiseley Vixens. PIC: Connor Craig-Jackson
County champions, Guiseley Vixens. PIC: Connor Craig-Jackson
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After five successive years of Bradford dominance, Guiseley Vixens finally snatched the County Cup from the hands of their local rivals with a 3-1 victory at Fleet Lane last night.

It was an affair full of fine margins and, as Vixens manager Glen Preston described, “crucial” moments, as a “poor” start and a 1-0 deficit was rectified on the stroke of half-time, as Beth Stanfield found the space to draw the Vixens level with her first goal for the club.

And despite starting the second half firmly on top, Guiseley took the lead by the slightest of margins.

A corner from Chantelle O’Hara set up a frantic goal-line scramble, which ended with Olivia DaCosta just managing to bundle the ball across the line to put her side 2-1 to the good.

However, there was nothing fortunate about the third goal, with a swift counter-attack seeing Nikki Berko charge down the middle and playing the ball down the right to Emily Heckler, who smashed her shot into the top corner to put the Vixens in control.

Bradford did rally but the Vixens were thankful for what Preston described as “a match-winning save” late on from Lauren Joyce, as they held their lead without any further trouble to seal a huge and memorable piece of silverware.

“I’m so elated for the players,” said Preston. “It’s been a tough season for us but we’re a better side than our league position suggests and today we’ve really shown that. The football we played as the game progressed just got better and better and I think we were worthy winners.

“Bradford were always a threat and were always dangerous and that save that Lauren (Joyce) made at the end was a match-winning save, so she also deserves a lot of credit for that too because it could have been a very dangerous turning point.”