With this weekends ESFA Danone Nations Cup U11 District Finals rapidly approaching, we are taking a look back at how our finalists made it to this prestigious event and how the competitions have come to this exciting conclusion!
Check out our event announcement here for more details on this weekends finals.
Wolverhampton Schools’ Football Association has been active at local and national level since early last century, traditionally part of Staffordshire and one of the founding members of the West Midlands league in 1974. Before reaching this national final their greatest achievement was reaching the ESFA national trophy final in 1931 when they lost 2-1 to Islington at Arsenal’s Highbury Stadium. The Primary Schools’ was formed back in 1964 and the closest they have coming to winning this particular competition was a semi final defeat to an Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain inspired Portsmouth team in 2004.
Route to the Final
Wolverhampton DSFA were drawn against Bootle DSFA in the second round after a bye through the first round, the inaugural meeting of the two sides. Wolverhampton came away 4-3 winners with two goals from Ricky Jackson and a brace from Ethan Smith securing a spot in the next round. A trip to Gloucester DSFA followed where a hattrick from the dangerous Ricky Jackson and goals from Kyle Platt and Max Gilbert saw them secure a 5-2 victory. Kyle’s goal was scored in bizarre circumstances when the ball floated into the net directly from a corner with a little help from the wind!
A Quarter Final trip to Manchester DSFA a side bolstered by Wayne Rooney’s son Kai was played in blistering heat with regular water breaks needed. With Wolverhampton 2-1 down just after the break an inspired comeback was needed to progress and goals from Elliot Malin and Aaron Aneke gave them just that, with Aaron’s goal coming with just 10 minutes to go. Liverpool DSFA stood in their way to their first national final since 1931 and the semi final didn’t disappoint. The score was level at 2-2 with 30 seconds to go when Aaron Aneke popped up as the hero with his strike from the edge of the box finding the net and securing Wolverhampton’s place in the final.
Top Goal scorer- Ricky Jackson (6)
Goals Scored- 15 (averaging 3.75 per game)
Goals Conceded- 9 (Averaging 2.25 per game)
Lewisham SFA was reformed in 2003 by John Milmore, David McClaren and Paul Harper and entered two inner London competitions. 2008 was a breakthrough year for Lewisham winning the National District finals at Wembley ,becoming the first Inner London Borough to win the competition. The district has grown from strength to strength in subsequent seasons progressing in this national competition and achieving success at a more local level. They have also established a strong relationship with Millwall football club, playing friendly’s against their academy sides.
Route to the Final
Lewisham travelled to Canterbury DSFA for their first round tie, returning home with a 5-0 win setting a trend for high scoring rounds as they progress through the competition. Next up they faced a trip to Havering DSFA and showed their dominance, progressing as 9-1 winners with a hattrick from Darrion James plus braces from Andrew Rennie and Kayden Roberts. Lewisham then travelled to the South East to play a strong Orpington and District side, scraping through to the quarter finals with a 4-3 victory. The semi final saw a huge clash against Brighton, Hove & Portslade where the scores were level at 2-2 after full time and a 4-3 win on penalties clinched their spot in the final.
Top Goal Scorer- Andrew Rennie (8)
Goals Scored- 26 (averaging 5.2 per game)
Goals Conceded-6 ( Averaging 1.2 per game)
This is Woking DSFA’s 15th year in girls football and they have progressed from just a few events per season, to hosting weekly sessions. They have had many successes over the years but they say their greatest achievement is the amount of girls they helped get into football over the years. This current squad have remained unbeaten this season and won the Surrey Girls league, Southern Counties Cup and were joint winners of the Southern Counties league. Can they add a national title to that list?
Route to the Final
Woking Girls faced West Kent in their first round fixture. Woking took a 2-0 lead and battled hard to maintain it, West Kent scored late on to set up a tense finish but Woking managed to hold on and progress to round two. Round two saw them once again traveling to Kent to face a physical Orpington Girls side. Woking adapted well to this physical style and retuned home with a 3-0 win. Their quarter final tie saw them host Chelmsford and Mid Essex girls who were their toughest opponents yet, coming back from a goal down to win the fixture 2-1. Everything seemed to come together for them in the semi finals when they put 6 past Gloucester with good attacking football and a high energetic press.
Goals Scored- 13 (3.25 per game)
Goals conceded- 3 (0.75 per game)
Liverpool was one of the first 21 School associations to affiliate with the ESFA and one of 19 which took part in our inaugural national competitions in 1904. The U11’s hold the record for the most national titles won with 5 and were most recently crowned champions in 2019 after a 1-0 win over Havering. Liverpool have had many successful schoolgirls pass through their ranks including Fern Whelan ( Brighton), Toni Duggan ( Everton) and Nikita Parris (Arsenal).
Route to the Final
Liverpool kicked off their campaign with an exciting 6-2 win over Bootle & District with 5 goals from number 7 Chelsea Ndrin. Next up was a 5-0 win over St Helens with a brace from Maddison Robinson pushing them into the next round. With a withdrawal in the quarter final Liverpool travelled to East Riding for their semi final. Scores were level at full time but an inspired extra time performance saw them score 4 in 14 minutes to set up a spectacular final.
Top Scorer- Chelsea Ndrin
Goals Scored- 16 (Averaging 5.33 per game)
Goals conceded- 3 (1 per game)
If you are planning on attending the games this weekend you will need to register your attendance here and provide proof of this upon arrival.
The matches will both be livestreamed on our YouTube channel ESFA TV with full match commentary.
Make sure to follow our social media channels (@schoolsfootball) for match updates and behind the scenes footage.
The National Governing Body for Schools’ Football in England.