With the national cup draws for next season now live we take another look back to the 2019-2020 season when October provided an absolute goal feast on our travels.
What would end with a crazy 4 game multi train journey around England started relatively close to home with a Friday double header at Perton school in Wolverhampton with games against Priory School in both the U12 and U13 Small Schools Cup.
It was one win each at the final whistles with goals galore, Perton’s U12 side winning 7-1 while the attack minded Priory U13 team hit a dozen to win through to round two.
The goals showed no signs of drying up early the following week as Wolverhampton Grammar School and Wrekin College shared SIXTEEN goals in a crazy game with the Shropshire school winning 9-7 to progress in the U13 Small Schools Cup!
Then followed our first cup upset as Thomas Telford fell to St Peter’s Catholic School in Solihull, despite battling back from 4-1 down to get back in the tie at 4-3 it was the home side who held their nerve to edge into round two of the U16 Elite Cup.
That week ended with a drive to Rugby as Moulton School were the visitors to Harris CofE Academy and they returned to Northampton with a 2-0 win in a wet U12 round two matchup.
The weather had not improved much by Monday as a train ride to Hereford saw St Mary’s RC High School host crosstown rivals Whitecross in the U14 Boys competition with a penalty shoot-out needed to decide the winner after a tense 1-1 draw, the visitors taking the spoils 2-0 on spot-kicks.
The following day saw me walk to a cup tie just 3 miles or so away, Ormiston Forge and Kenilworth School going toe to toe in the U12 Boys Cup but the visitors put on a blistering display of attacking football in the opening half to take a 4-0 lead which they held for the remainder of the game.
A double header in Shrewsbury followed with Shrewsbury School winning 8-2 at home to Staffordshire’s Blessed William Howard School in the U14 Boys Cup and then a walk across the River Severn took us to Belvidere School as they held on for a 3-2 win at home to Smestow School in the U16 Boys.
Up next was a trip to Sandwell Academy in the U18 Boys Cup as they won 3-1 at home to Kingsmead School and move into round three and the following day we saw Madeley Academy overcome Whitecross Hereford in the Girls U14 Cup with a 5-1 win in the afternoon sunshine.
That Friday feeling came in the way of a soaking wet U13 Boys tie in Liverpool with the game in doubt due to heavy rain all afternoon but credit to both sides for putting on a show as Maricourt Catholic High School hit 9 on the road to defeat St Hilda’s CofE High School.
Monday morning saw us set off on the biggest trip so far as we headed for a 4 day, 4 game trip here, there and everywhere!
We kicked off with a train to London and in the shadow of the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament it was St John’s from Enfield who progressed in the U13 Small Schools Cup with a 6-0 win over a valiant Oasis Academy South Bank side who battled throughout against a tough opponent.
Then we had a long overnight train ride to Cornwall on the sleeper train although the carriage became a drying station for my clothes and camera gear as we trundled through the darkness!
Rain greeted our arrival into Penzance but the howling wind and rain could not prevent the Cape Cornwall and Plymouth School of Creative Arts tie taking place and it was the home side who progressed into the U15 Small Schools Cup on the back of a 4-0 win.
Back on the sleeper train to London we went and then onto Norwich next morning for a trip to Wymondham College and their U18 Boys Cup tie with Thurston Community College which ended in a 5-2 win for the home side and a place in round three.
Our final train ride of the month saw us venture into Lincolnshire with Carre’s Grammar School our destination as they hosted Healing Science Academy in round two of the U13 Boys Cup with the home side 7-0 winners courtesy of some excellent long range strikes that put them firmly in control in the opening half.
What a month, a staggering 16 games and 110 goals in total – this would be the biggest goals per game ratio of the whole season and only in the second month of matches and without doubt the most miles I have travelled in one month for schools football.
I can’t wait to get started again in September…!
A huge thank you to our official photographer Garry Griffiths for writing this report and travelling around the country to provide amazing coverage of schools football. If you would like to view or purchase any of the pictures in this report please contact ThreeFiveThree photography.
The National Governing Body for Schools’ Football in England.