Heartbreak for Lauren Hemp fans as England lose to Spain in historic final

ANGLIA 200823 North Walsham footy club world cup day
ITV Anglia
Fans watching at Lauren Hemp's old club in North Walsham Credit: ITV Anglia

There was disappointment for fans at Lauren Hemp's home club as England lost 1-0 to Spain in a thrilling World Cup final.

They crammed into North Walsham football club to watch a tense match unfold.

Pubs across the Norfolk town were also packed as the whole community came together to cheer on their heroine.

They saw the forward come agonisingly close in the first half as she rattled the crossbar with a long-range effort.

It was the Lionesses best chance in a half that was increasingly dominated by Spain after they opened the scoring.

Across the ITV Anglia region people watched on big screens as the historic game unfolded.

Hemp was in the thick of the action in the second half too, being denied at the near post and then almost immediately booked for a challenge.

Lauren Hemp battles for the ball during the final in Sydney Credit: PA Images

England battled hard for an equaliser but were unable to break down the Spanish defence, although hopes were raised when goalkeeper Mary Earps saved a penalty.

The final whistle left many of the girls in tears as the strains of Sweet Caroline played out in the football club back in North Walsham.

GIrls watching at North Walsham wept as the final ended in defeat for the Lionesses Credit: ITV News Anglia

Five girls from the North Walsham club are in the under-13s at the Norwich City Academy -the same pathway that Lauren Hemp followed.

Supporters wave an England flag at Lauren Hemp's old club in North Walsham Credit: ITV News Anglia

Local MP Duncan Baker said: "She's done us proud. She's a massive inspiration and we're all so pleased with what's happened. We just wish we could have got it over the line and won today but these things happen."

Lauren Bagley, 11, said: "They were the better team and therefore they won. Lauren did really well. The ref was terrible."

Brooke Rebbeck, 11, plays in Lauren’s number 11 and said the Norfolk star was a huge inspiration to her.

Before the game began she reckoned the score would be 2-1 to England.

Nicola Wicks and her daughter Millie Credit: ITV News Anglia

Nicola Wicks is assistant coach for the girls under-13s and her daughter Millie ,11, plays for the team.

Ms Wicks used to play for Wycombe Wanderers, but was not allowed to play in a team until she was 15.

Now girls at North Walsham start in the mini kickers from the age of six.

Young fans watch their heroine Lauren Hemp in the World Cup Final Credit: ITV News Anglia

Ms Wicks said: "Lauren is a fanatic inspiration, a role model and gives these girls hope that even though they come from a tiny Norfolk town they can make it one day like Lauren on the world stage."

Macey Shackcloth, 11, plays in the under-12s and is proud to wear her Hemp shirt.

Macey Shackcloth wears her Hemp shirt to watch the final Credit: ITV News Anglia

Brooke Rebbeck, 11, said: "I think we were dominating until they scored. We need to keep our composure and we'll be able to turn it around."

But it was not to be for the Lionesses and Spain held out to win by the single goal.