The England U15 Schoolgirls’ resumed their Bob Docherty Tournament campaign with a well earned draw against the Republic of Ireland. England now face Scotland in their final fixture for a chance to win the Bob Docherty Tournament for the first time since 2016.
After an excellent display against Northern Ireland on Sunday, expectations were high for another good performance against a talented Republic of Ireland side. Republic of Ireland have won the 3 consecutive Bob Docherty titles, a tough test indeed for the England Schoolgirls to overcome.
England settled early with the energetic Phoebe Cowley going close early on and Jessica Anderson looking to break down the right flank. Emily Walne was forced off early with a toe injury, with Ebony Wilkinson taking her place in the heart of the defence. The same defence which had to withstand constant pressure from the Irish attack in the early phases and did so without conceding too many clear cut chances. Anderson’s header from a corner flew just over the bar just before half time, with the scores level at 0-0 and both keepers largely untroubled.
The Irish took the lead early in the second half from the penalty spot after a Chanel Cole foul received a yellow card. The resulting penalty was converted by Irish striker Madison McGuane, sending England goalkeeper Chiemela Ude the wrong way.
England almost equalised shortly after, when Ebony Foley challenged the Irish keeper to a loose ball with the rebound falling to Bryony Brodie, who lifted the ball just past the far post. It was not long before that partnership paid dividends though, as Foley pressured the Irish keeper into a mistake and Brodie made sure to slot the ball into the corner to make it 1-1.
The Irish, who knew they needed a win, pushed to make a late breakthrough but were met with a stubborn English rearguard and keeper, Ude was comfortable saving a long range effort to keep the scores level at 1-1 as the final whistle blew.
The penalty shoot-out was a tense affair with both teams converting their kicks until Ude saved the third Irish penalty to give England the advantage. Unfortunately, Roxylea Thomas saw her kick saved to tie things up after 5 kicks each.
Ude was again the hero for England, this time saving down to her left, with Abi Conway comfortably converting the final penalty to secure the extra bonus point.
While the performance may not have been on a par with Sunday, the heart and desire to earn their rewards cannot be underestimated. This sets up a massive deciding tie on Thursday when Scotland and England go head to head, level on points in a winner-takes-all clash for the right to be called the Bob Docherty Tournament winners.
Full match footage
You can watch the full match footage on our YouTube channel here.
Photo Credit: 353Photography
The National Governing Body for Schools’ Football in England.