CREWE Ladies are the first team from outside the National League to be crowned Cheshire County FA Ladies Shield champions since the competition started 11 years ago.
And they had to beat Stockport County for the first time ever to do it. Two goals in each half, from Kirsty Percival and Kate Halle, secured the 2-1 win and broke the stranglehold that County and Tranmere Rovers have had on the competition for a decade.
Playing at Vauxhall Motors, Stockport were unsettled at Crewe's quick approach and their fears were confirmed when they fell behind on five minutes. Percival intercepted a sloppy clearance and fired a 30-yard thunderbolt past Emma Jenks.
Crewe were thankful for excellent goalkeeping from Kelly Roberts as they made it to the break a goal to the good. But within 60 seconds of the restart, Stockport were level. Roberts fumbled a long free-kick and Katie Brussell nipped in to stab home.
Caroline Sloane, playing her first season since the birth of her daughter, began to influence matters from the left wing, and 17-year-old Helen Fryer excelled in midfield alongside ex-Fulham star Percival.
And on 53 minutes it was Fryer who found Tracy Sloane. She slipped a ball into the path of Halle who sidestepped the keeper and slotted into an empty net.
Stockport applied heavy pressure in the last few minutes but Crewe's defence held strong. Spokesman Russ Edwards said: 'The final whistle was met with great jubilation. This success has rekindled the desire to pursue the club's ambition of playing in the National League.'
Crewe Ladies are looking for new players. If you feel that you have the necessary personal qualities and ability, call Russ Edwards on 07773 333062 or e-mail email@example.com.