Mildenhall’s Abi Marriott said the noise and atmosphere at Wembley is something she will never forget after being an assistant referee at the SSE FA Women’s Cup Final, writes Nick Garnham.
The 25-year-old was on the line at Saturday’s final in which Manchester City beat Birmingham City 4-1 in front of a record crowd of 35,271.
Marriott, who admitted she was left speechless after being told she had been appointed as part of the officiating team for the showpiece game, said: “It was by far the best experience I’ve had in football.
“The noise and atmosphere that the 35,000 spectators created is something I’ll never forget.”
“I always anticipated it to be a phenomenal experience, but I did not quite come to terms with it until the day.
“With the kick off being at 5.15pm, I went through the whole day with emotions of nerves and excitement. Thankfully, I managed to keep myself calm and the game went well.
“As I walked up the Wembley steps afterwards to collect my medal I was greeted by my coach, Trevor Pollard, in the crowd — it was great to share that moment with him.
“He’s given up a massive amount of time and effort for me the last six years and I wouldn’t have made it to the FA Cup Final without him.”
Suffolk FA chairman Phil Lawler, who attended Saturday’s game at the home of English football, added: “It was a very proud day for Suffolk football to be represented at such a prestigious occasion which is the pinnacle of women’s football as a player or official.
“I was extremely proud to be there to witness the first female official to represent the county at Wembley.”