PLAYING at Wembley Stadium was ‘an absolute dream come true’ for one Suffolk side.
Players from Needham Market Women’s FC represented the town’s The Three Tuns in the BT Pub Cup and made it all the way to the final.
Despite losing 2-1 to the White Boar Hotel from Lancashire, winger Ellie Rossiter said the day exceeded their expectations.
Ellie said: “We had a lot of expectation going into this game. I think it’s every English footballer's dream to play at Wembley, and none of us could quite believe it was happening.
“I have to give full credit to BT; the competition was exceptionally well organised throughout. It made it even more special for us as players to be able to share the day with our family and friends, so we have to thank Wembley and BT again for their fantastic hospitality.
“Walking into the dressing room was a surreal experience; our kits were ready for us; the fridges were full and there was plenty of space for dancing – at that moment, the dream became reality. I’m sure the team will agree that the day absolutely exceeded our very high expectations.”
Molly Hall (left) is congratulated by Mia Etheridge after scoring for Needham Market side The Three Tuns. Main photograph: The Three Tuns players have their photograph taken on the Wembley pitch after the match. Photographs: Ben Pooley
Needham trailed 2-0 early in the second-half, before substitute Molly Hall scored soon after coming on.
Ellie reflected: “I really thought we were going to nick the game in the end. When Molly Hall came on and scored, it really looked like it was going to turn in our favour.
“We must give credit to the other team as they had some really good players and they also had it all to play for, so it was a really good and close match.
“I genuinely think if we played each other 10 times it would probably end up with five wins each. Unfortunately, the result was just not in our favour on the day.
“I’m still incredibly proud of the way we played and the effort we put in on such a big pitch. I think our ability to fight until the end showed our character and what we're about as a team, which is another reason every single one of us could dance away from Wembley with our heads held high.”
Ellie said that for her the highlight of the day, without doubt, was when substitute Molly Hall scored.
“To be able to celebrate at Wembley and hear our fans celebrate with us was an unbelievable experience, an absolute dream come true. The team had been putting on a great performance throughout. We had hope from Paige Wakefield’s early offside goal, so to see the ball hit the back of the net a second time was incredible,” she said.
Paige Wakefield (left) turns away to celebrate along with Three Tuns team-mate Lina Nagib, but their joy was cut short after Paige's goal was disallowed. Photograph: Ben Pooley
Despite losing 2-1, the Suffolk side were seen celebrating on the pitch at the end.
Ellie explained: “Obviously, as an athlete, it is never nice to lose, and of course deep down we were all a bit gutted not to get the result on the day.
“However, we said before the game the most important thing was to enjoy the experience and put 100% into every moment. We have all dreamed of playing at a ground like Wembley since we first started playing football as little girls.
“Molly Hall got a goal, I got an assist, Nic Henderson made an appearance after her retirement and Abbie Fisher managed to come back from injury to get some minutes too.
“Every player had an outstanding performance, and I could hear our supporters, the development and U15 sides singing throughout.
“The whole day just demonstrated what an incredible togetherness we have as a club. To do all of that at Wembley felt like we had plenty to sing about, and we danced at the Three Tuns long into the night to celebrate our incredible achievements and our incredible team!”
Wembley awaits for women's side in cup