Goals either side of half time from Alice Summers and Daisy Redford earned Tankerton a narrow 2-1 win in the U16 Kent Girls Cup Final, despite a late comeback attempt from Maidstone United.
It was a first cup final appearance for any Tankerton youth side and the Under-16s took their chances and defended rigidly against a dangerous Maidstone.
Maidstone had the better of the opening exchanges and almost scored early on when Grace Mayhead broke through Tankerton’s backline but shot inches wide.
Against the run of play, Tankerton broke the deadlock on 18 minutes after Alice Summers was bundled over just inside the penalty area and referee Ben Marshall pointed to the spot.
Summers took the resulting penalty and tucked her spot kick neatly into the bottom-right corner, out of reach from Lily Fowkes.
Tankerton pushed for a second and Daisy Redford caused problems for Maidstone, keeping their back line under pressure with direct running and closing down, but they were unable to carve out a dangerous chance for a second goal.
Maidstone ended the half on top and they almost equalised late in the first half when Charlotte Watts struck a low, powerful free-kick from 25 yards but Tankerton ‘keeper Aoife Yanik tipped it round the post.
Minutes into the second half, Maidstone striker Frankie Stannard raced in behind Tankerton’s defence and went one-on-one with Yanik but the ‘keeper got a vital touch to tip the shot away from goal.
Maidstone continued to push forward again before Tankerton added a second on the counter attack on 50 minutes as Striker Redford ran from deep, controlled a long ball forward and volleyed a fierce shot into the roof of the net from 10 yards out.
Immy Armstrong almost pulled a goal back for Maidstone seconds later, curling a close-range shot just into the side-netting from a close angle after some quick passing down the right wing.
Tankerton were on the back-foot late in the game and invited pressure from Maidstone, who went close again with 10 minutes left as Matilda Wasilewska drove forward and hit a rising shot just over the bar.
Charlie Broughton then hit the crossbar with a looping header from a Maidstone corner that beat Yanik but deflected off the bar and the Tankerton defence cleared.
Maidstone’s pressure finally paid off with five minutes remaining as Stannard pressured the Tankerton defence and managed to pull the ball back from the byline to an unmarked Broughton, who lashed the ball into the bottom corner from close range.
Broughton then went close to scoring the equaliser in the dying minutes as Lucie Breiner bundled through and knocked down a loose ball for Broughton, whose snap shot went just over the bar from 10 yards.
Tankerton held on for a narrow victory and secured their first-ever Kent Youth Cup title.
Maidstone: 1 (Broughton, 74)
Tankerton: 2 (Summers, 18, Redford, 51)
Maidstone United: Lily Fowkes, Megan Jenner, Evelyn Westhrop, Charlotte Watts, Charlotte Broughton, Grace Mayhead, Maya Brooks, Jessica Robins, Sophie Raynor, Matilda Wasilewska, Lucie Briener
Subs: Frankie Stannard, Freya Burns, Tegan Whitman, Immy Armstrong
Tankerton FC: Aoife Yanik, Elif Altun, Georgia Newhouse, Fleur Charman, Leyla Temple, Sophie Birell, Daisy Redford, Alice Summers
Subs: Lauren Todd, Morgan Wicks, Kim Boswell, Shannon Brady, Gallia Yates
Officials: Ben Marshall (referee), Jamie Harris (assistant referee), Natalie Smith (assistant referee), Bart Chmielecki (fourth official)