1980 WFA Cup Final (lost footage of football match; 1980)

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St Helens' Liz Deighan with the trophy.

Status: Lost

The 1980 WFA Cup Final culminated the 1979-80 WFA Cup season. Occurring on 4th May 1980 at Southbury Road, it featured St Helens defeating Preston North End 1-0 to claim its sole WFA Cup.


St Helens' campaign from the First Round onwards saw it defeat Prescot, Prestatyn, Fodens, Willesden, and Notts Rangers.[1] In the Semi-Finals, the team defeated defending champions Southampton 2-1.[2][3][1] This marked the first time the latter team failed to make the Final, since the Cup's inception in 1971.[2][3] Meanwhile, Preston North End road to the Final from the First Round onwards consisted of it overcoming Cumberland Rangers, Preston Rangers, Rossendale, Aylesbury Harlequins, Lowestoft, and Cleveland Spartans.[1] This was the first WFA Cup Final for both sides.[2]

With Football League stadiums remaining inaccessible, the WFA forged an agreement with Isthmian League side Enfield Town to stage the Final at its ground Southbury Road.[4][3] The WFA also invited 1978 World Cup winner and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Ricardo Villa to present the trophy, an invitation he would accept.[3] His presence prompted media coverage, including from the Daily Mirror.[3] However, it is unclear whether his presence increased the attendance, as these figures remain unknown.[3][4]

The Match

The Final itself commenced on 4th May.[4] Overall, it was a competitive game, with both sides having numerous opportunities to score.[3] Particularly, Preston's Shelia Parker, an England international, was praised for her attacks during the match, having primarily played in defence.[3] It led to her being declared Player of the Match, with football historian Rod Prescott stating "I have been watching women's football every week for most of my life and I have never seen a player as gifted as Shelia Parker".[3] Preston also nearly took the lead early on when a corner from Lynn Arstall ended up hitting the woodwork.[3] St Helens' Judith Turner also narrowly missed out on a goal, with one shot from her being cleared off the line.[3]

Eventually, St Helens' Sue Holland received the ball from teammate Juidth Turner, capitalising on Preston's defence being fixated on other St Helens players to score the sole goal of the game after 85 minutes.[3][4] From there, St Helens defended its slender lead to claim its sole WFA Cup, having only originated as a club four years prior.[5][3][4][2] The club's manager, Chris Slater, also became the first woman to lead a side to a WFA Cup win.[3] In an interview with A History of the Women's FA Cup Final, St Helens' goalkeeper Ann Harkins expressed how winning the Cup was "pure exhilaration", also stating "We were so thrilled to get to the Final. It was a magical day, we felt like celebs thanks to the press and TV coverage before and after the match which was thrilling."[3]


Harkins' comments confirm that some television coverage of the match occurred, most likely by the BBC and ITV.[3] This coverage has yet to resurface, however, and no footage of the match is currently publicly available.



See Also