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Page last updated at 09:49 GMT, Monday, 16 July 2007 10:49 UK

London teams top of Your Game

United Stars FC from Southall in West London
Your Game men's winners United Stars FC from Southall in West London

For the second year in a row, the men's final of the Your Game street football festival was won by a team who qualified through fair play.

United Stars FC, from Southall in West London, beat Nottingham's PF Unity 2-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in which the London side's Mohamed Ahmed equalised with just seconds to spare.

Earlier, in the women's final, HFC from East London triumphed 3-1 over Wirral Ladies thanks to two sensational strikes from player-of-the-match Sarah Jane 'Minnie' Cleary.

Fair play winners were Sunderland YMCA group Mad4UBabes and Lotus FC from London who both win tickets to Premiership matches.

Despite the typically Mancunian weather, 40 teams who qualified from regional finals around England failed to let the rain dampen their spirits in a hotly-contested tournament.

The Match of the Day cameras made the occasion the biggest of its kind with commentary, post-match interviews and analysis from pundits all beamed onto the big screens around the venue.

Your Game women's winners HFC from East London
'Minnie' is congratulated by her HFC team-mates after two wonder goals

United Stars manager "Jonny English" said afterwards: "I didn't think I would ever be in this position. I'm so glad that we came here and now we are champions.

"I am very proud of my team, we've only been going a year and we were excellent. I want to congratulate Mohamed he was my man of the match and was a life saver today."

Ahmed added: "We worked very hard and there were teams twice our size but football's not just about being big. We never gave up.

"Your Game has been a great opportunity to meet a lot of different people. It's the best tournament we've ever played in and it's even better that we won it."

More than 500 people crammed into the arena in the shadow of Manchester City's home ground but few spectators could have predicted United Stars would go all the way after losing their first group game.

The team, run by "Jonny English", Jules Dushimmana and Hassan Ardillahi, arrived in the north west on Friday night resplendent in matching suits and their football was just as slick after they put their early disappointments behind them.

Your Game has shown us that we should believe in ourselves

Jules Dushimmana, president of United Stars FC

Having sneaked into the quarter-finals, the close-knit team gave a preview of their triumph by beating the powerful St Mary's from Southampton on penalties in the quarter-finals.

Their 4-0 victory over East London's Coco United in the semis was a formality before their tasty encounter with PF Unity.

But what they lacked in size, they made up in sprit as their goalkeeper known as "Dida" kept them in the match with a string of saves from PF Unity's strikers Antwon Brown and Antwon Bonnick.

It was Brown's roll back from a free-kick which gave the Nottingham side the lead when defender Kevin Spriggs rifled a shot into the roof of the net from long range.

That looked to be enough to win it as United Stars struggled to deal with the physical advantage their opponents were imposing on them.

But after a couple of close efforts, Mohamed Ahmed squeezed home a finish in the dying moments of the game which sent the game to penalties.

The momentum was with the West London team and Brown's penalty made matters worse for PF unity as he blasted over.

Mohamed Ahmed
Mohamed Ahmed, the decisive penalty taker, is interviewed by Match of the Day

Anthony Onukafor, a constant thorn in his opponents' side, then established a 1-0 lead and it was left to Ahmed to provide the biggest smile of the day after slotting home the decisive strike.

The women's final was just as tight but the difference was provided by Cleary who gave a defending masterclass of which former German captain Franz Beckenbauer would have been proud.

Having carved out the early chances, Wirral Ladies were unlucky to find themselves 1-0 down after low shot from HFC found the corner.

The Merseyside team's resolute defence, which conceded just one goal in reaching the final, was relieved when the team equalised with a strike the HFC keeper failed to hold.

But with time running out and the game deadlocked, Cleary began to forage from the back like a sweeper of old and struck home with what looked like a deflected shot.

If that was fortunate, her next strike had her team-mates in raptures as she again produced a strong challenge in her own half, only to see the ball ricochet into the net.

Wirral Ladies were heartbroken as the final whistle blew.

But among the extreme effort, it was ironic that the nature of Cleary's two strikes belied her coolness under pressure. Indeed, she was more nervous when she watched the team's performance on the big screen afterwards.

"It's good to be the champions and we'll be back next year with a bit more confidence," she said.

"When you're playing you don't notice the cameras but when they are asking you questions you get a bit shaky. The whole Match of the Day set-up made us feel special."

THE COMPETING TEAMS

LEEDS/BRADFORD

Men's
Winners: Prince's Trust Bradford - Helping young people in employment, education and training.
Fair Play winners: Super Eagles - Promoting soccer at grassroots level and keeping them occupied.

Women's
Winners: Archwway Rangers - Enabling young people to live independently in the community.
Fair Play winners: Batley Wildcats - Increasing participation of young Asian women in football.

MANCHESTER

Men's
Winners: Cheetwood A - Raising alcohol and drug awareness in hard to reach communities.
Fair Play winners: Screamin' Wheels - Engaging young people in a wide range of activities.

Women's
Winners: Nacro Salford City - Outreach programme aimed at reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.
Fair Play winners: Lammack Ladies - Prince's Trust project supporting disadvantaged young people.

LIVERPOOL

Men's
Winners: Muslim Youth Association - Serving young people from BRM communities.
Fair Play winners: Refugee Action

Women's
Winners: Wirral Ladies - Positive Futures funded sports and activities based social inclusion programme.
Fair Play: Participation FC - Engaging young people in the community in a wide range of activities.

NEWCASTLE

Men's
Winners: Old Star FC - Promotes free football training to young people in Newcastle.
Fair Play winners: Toonski - Team representing the Uefa Hattrick Project.

Women's
Winners: Geordie Girls - Working with homeless young people to provide social and sporting activities.
Fair Play: Mad4UBabes - Promoting personal development and volunteering schemes.

NOTTINGHAM

Men's
Winners: PF Unity - Positive Futures-funded scheme helping young people stay out of crime.
Fair Play winners: Young People United - Helping promote equal opportunities for all in Leicester.

Women's
Winners: SYPP Ladies - Working with 11-25 years olds on a deprived estate in Leicester.
Fair Play: Lik:T FC - Promotes health among lesbian and bisexual women.

BRISTOL

Men's
Winners: The Underdogs - Give young people opportunities in sport.
Fair Play winners: Bristol Active Life - Promote mental and physical well-being.

Women's
Winners: Bristol Active Life - Promote mental and physical well-being.
Fair Play: Paignton Panthers

BIRMINGHAM

Men's
Winners: United All Stars - Opening up opportunities to asylum seekers and refugees in football.
Fair Play winners: Score 4 Sport - Engaging 10-19-year-olds away from substance abuse.

Women's
Winners: Focus United - Breaking down cultural identity barriers in Aston.
Fair Play: Sporting Khalsa - Encouraging more people to play sport.

LONDON EAST

Men's
Winners: Coco United - Encouraging positive development in East London.
Fair Play winners: Lotus FC - Raise participation in sport in Ilford.

Women's
Winners: HFC - Represent a Kick It Out imitative in North London.
Fair Play: Brent Ladies - Use football as a tool to engage disadvantaged young people.

SOLENT

Men's
Winners: St Marys - Helping young people to achieve their aspirations.
Fair Play winners: Paulsgrove FC - Part of Portsmouth City youth service.

Women's
Winners: Portsea Youth Club - Involve 12-23-year-old people into various activities.
Fair Play: Manor Girls - Working with 13 to 19-year-olds in education.

LONDON WEST

Men's
Winners: Old Oak FC - Encourages greater social inclusion in West London.
Fair Play winners: United Stars FC - Increase sport participation in the community.

Women's
Winners: Real Impact FC - Increase participation of sport in the Somali community.
Fair Play: Elthorne Kickz - Part of Arsenal Kickz community football project.

Your Game is a partnership between the BBC and Football Foundation supported by Barclays Spaces for Sports.

see also
Your Game marches into Manchester
09 May 07 |  Your Game
Penalties decide Newcastle final
21 May 07 |  Your Game
PF Unity dominate in Nottingham
28 May 07 |  Your Game
Double celebration for Active Life
04 Jun 07 |  Your Game
HFC dominate in East London
13 Jun 07 |  Your Game
St Mary's claim Solent title
18 Jun 07 |  Your Game
Keeper saves the day for Old Oak
25 Jun 07 |  Your Game


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