1982 WFA Cup Final (lost footage of football match; 1982)

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Lowestoft celebrating with the trophy at Loftus Road.

Status: Lost

The 1982 WFA Cup Final culminated the 1981-82 WFA Cup season. Occurring on 1st May 1982 at Loftus Road, it featured Lowestoft defeating Cleveland Spartans 2-0 to claim its sole WFA Cup.


Lowestoft's campaign from the First Round onwards saw it defeat Colchester, Suffolk Bluebirds, Old Actonians, Preston North End, Doncaster Belles, and Maidstone Mote United.[1][2] Meanwhile, Cleveland Spartans received a bye in the First Round, before going on to defeat Kilnhurst, Fodens, Aylesbury, and BYC Argule.[1][2] In the Semi-Finals, they beat defending champions Southampton, which officially ended Southampton's golden era that began since the WFA Cup's inauguration in the 1970/71 season.[3][1][2] Lowestoft had previously made the 1979 Final where they lost to Southampton, while this was Cleveland's first Final.[4][2]

Heading into the Final, Lowestoft were deemed the favourites, the Waves having also won the 1981-82 South East Women's League.[3][2] One national newspaper even went so far as to dub them "the female Liverpool".[3] Nevertheless, Cleveland were optimistic about their chances after having upset Southampton.[3][2] Both sides lost one player each due to injury; Sue Anderson broke her leg five days before the Final, while Lowestoft midfielder Debbie Brampton was unable to recover from a knee injury in time.[3] She would be replaced by Linda Curl.[3]

The 1982 WFA Cup Final also broke new ground in English women's football. Unlike in previous editions, where the WFA made agreements to stage Finals at non-league grounds, this time they had succeeded in forging a deal with Second Division side Queens Park Rangers to host it at Loftus Road.[3][2] By moving the Final from a Sunday to a Saturday, it would enable the WFA the opportunity to attract new fans, as the Final would be held just hours before QPR's fixture with Bolton Wanderers.[3][2] This was not the first time a doubleheader like this occurred in English women's football. On 21st March 1981, Lowestoft faced Maidstone at Carrow Road prior to Norwich City vs Arsenal.[2] Approximately 500 were in attendance for the 1982 Final, with a further 500 arriving by the time the match ended.[5][6][3] The match would be sponsored by Trimtape as part of a one-match deal.[3][2]

The Match

The Final itself occurred on 1st May.[5] Initially, while the game proved lively, both clubs were struggling with Loftus Road's "Omniturf". However, the artificial pitch proved more of an issue for Cleveland, as they lacked the AstroTurf boots Lowestoft wore.[3][2] After eight minutes however, Cleveland nearly took the lead thanks to a header from Denise Markham that narrowly missed the goal.[3][2] At the 26-minute mark, Cleveland goalkeeper Janice Elliott accidently passed the ball back to Lowestoft's Curl, who quickly fired a shot to make it 1-0.[3][2] Following a match-long midfield battle, with Cleveland's Anna Citro and Lowestoft Vicky Johnson engaging in a duel throughout, Lowestoft would double their lead after 58 minutes when Curl took a corner that found Angela Poppy.[3][2] Poppy capitalised on the opportunity to make it 2-0.[3][2]

Although Lowestoft suffered when Shirley Jones suffered a broken collarbone and was taken off after 69 minutes, the Waves generally controlled the remainder of the game to claim their first WFA Cup.[3][2] A WFA News report stated that while the match "perhaps failed to reach the capable heights of a classic cup final", it "in fact won the heats of many new sporting friends in the world of professionalism."[2] Lowestoft's Jackie Slack recalled in an interview with A History of the Women's FA Cup Final that "Winning the WFA Cup was what every player dreamed of. I was so proud to lift the Cup for the team especially as I had my family in the crowd that day."[3] This proved to be Lowestoft's swansong as well; aside from losing to Warminster in the Fourth Round 7-0 in the following WFA Cup, the club was forced to fold due to cancellation of the South East League, with no other sides being willing to travel long distances to play them.[3][2]


According to A History of the Women's FA Cup Final author Chris Slegg, match highlights were broadcast as part of World of Sport.[7] Said highlights have yet to publicly resurface however, with many of World of Sports' episodes no longer existing within known archives.[8] The uncut tape of the match is also missing. Nevertheless, photos can be found online and in A History of the Women's FA Cup Final.[3][2][6]



See Also

Football Media