ONE of the district’s junior football teams is celebrating after a remarkable treble-winning campaign.

Ponteland United’s U14 girls side, the Crusaders, have now gone unbeaten for two whole seasons.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the team also won the league, league cup, and the Wade Financial Trophy in a truly outstanding season.

What’s even more impressive is that 2018/19 marked the first year the Crusaders moved to 11-a-side football, and full-length pitches, in the Russell Foster League.

The challenging league saw them travel as far as Billingham and Hartlepool for matches, but the girls rose to the challenge. They quickly adapted, scoring 153 goals and conceding just 15 as they romped to the title.

Five of the league’s top 10 goalscorers came from the Crusaders, with centre forward Lucy McConnell taking the golden boot with 50 goals in all competitions.

If the Crusaders dominated the league, that was nothing compared to their all-conquering performances in the Wade Financial Trophy.

After winning the tournament for the previous two seasons, the girls were determined to retain the title and simply blew the opposition away in each round.

They scored 27 goals without reply in the three games, including a 13-0 win in the final.

And the Crusaders even performed impressively on the European stage, when they travelled to Holland to play in the Easter Open.

The girls entered in the U15 category and came up against girls up to three years older than them.

After going through the first round of games unbeaten, the Crusaders were seeded in the top eight.

Facing teams from Denmark, Holland, and the UK, the Crusaders finished a respectable third, missing out on a place in the final after a controversial call from the linesman.

Coach Colin Brooks said: “If the unfair call from the linesman hadn’t been made, we would have had the opportunity to play in a final and who knows?

“But it was an experience that I believe all the girls will never forget and that’s all part of the love of the game.

“As a coach, I couldn’t be prouder of the way they have played their football, the way they represent the club and themselves.

“Its been a pleasure to coach and watch these young ladies play their football.”

The team also competed in the national finals, but were pipped at the post by Washington Lionesses, who defeated the Crusaders on penalties.