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Memorable season for Stourbridge

Stourbridge have enjoyed a very impressive season which has just finished with 35 matches played, 32 of which ended in wins.

This has led them to the West Midlands League Premier Division title, won at the first time of asking after upward movement from tier 6 last summer, a Premier Division Cup success, the semi finals of the Birmingham County Cup and the Vitality Women’s FA Cup Third Round.

Stourbridge scored 191 times in all competitions, 123 of which were in the league, and conceded only 24 times (10 of the goals conceded were against teams from higher divisions).

For all of their success in the league, they hit the headlines with the FA Cup run which saw them win 3-2 away to Derby County of Tier 3 in the First Round, including a 92nd minute winner from 40 yards. They followed this up with a 2-1 victory at Cambridge City of Tier 4 in the Second Round. Ahead of the Cambridge City match, Stourbridge were featured along with Lye Town on BBC Midlands Today.  Both clubs were in the middle of record FA Cup runs, which was great for publicity.

The run came to an end with a 3-0 defeat at home to Championship side Sheffield United in the Third Round - in front of a record crowd of 402 against a team from three levels higher.

In the league, a 1-0 win at Lichfield City in the second game of the season proved to be very significant, although they did not realise how much at the time. Lichfield didn't lose again until mid April, and were neck and neck with Stourbridge and Sutton Coldfield Town in the title race for a long time. In October, the Glassgirls suffered a 3-0 defeat at home to Sutton Coldfield, their first league defeat in over two years.  Since that day, they went on to win 17 on the trot and only conceded four times.

A 4-1 win at Tamworth came the following week, the game was 1-1 after 75 minutes and they were suffering a bit of a hangover, but managed to get a goal through a bit of magic and that threw the shackles off.

Other memorable games included a 10-0 midweek win at home to Worcester City in March - the first time the team has played under lights at Stourbridge, in front of a crowd of just over 150 and a good atmosphere.  A sign that there was real momentum building off the field too. A 7-0 win at home to then second placed Lichfield City on 1st May, which really put them in the driving seat in the title race, with a crowd of just under 200.

The title was clinched with a 6-0 win away to Lye Town and Stourbridge went on to beat Kidderminster Harriers 5-0 in the League Cup Final.

“The best performances was undoubtedly Derby, where we were very disciplined and organised in a way that we perhaps don't usually need to be,” says Richard Clark, “and also the home game against Lichfield which was expected to be very tight but we just blew them away. Pretty much a perfect performance.

“In our last six League matches we've had to play the other five from the top half of the table, which looked like quite an ominous task. We won all six of those with a 28-2 aggregate.  We've just got stronger and stronger.”

The team is managed by Andy Fisher and Courteney Murphy is captain, although she has missed a lot of the season through very unfortunate injuries. Leading scorers are Alex Nicklin and Cheryl Edwards with 23 each, whilst every player in the squad has scored at least once, except for two central defenders. The goal tally included ten hat tricks, scored by eight different players.

“[It’s] very difficult to pick out individual stars, it has been a genuine squad effort,” added Clark. “As an illustration of that, our Supporters Player of the Year vote has seen 13 different players receive votes.  The depth of the squad has been the key given that - aside from the Xmas and New Year break - we've only had three Sundays without matches.

 “Now we are very much looking forward to National League football. The Midlands Division at Tier 4 looks strong, but we aim to do well!”   

Stourbridge squad: Carly Aldred, Keren Allen, Jessica Bate, Lili Beth Bown, Louisa Butcher, Conie Dutton, Cheryl Edwards, Hannah Fishwick, Megan Hadley, Sophie Heaselgrave, Amber Lawrence, Ellie McGovern, Ruby Meeson, Esme Moran, Courteney Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Alex Nicklin, Amie Preston, Millie Rogers, Keira-Cheynelle Scarlett, Georgia Thacker, Macey Turvey.