featured, Match Reports

Throwback Thursday- October Floodgates Open!

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.

featured, Match Reports

Match Report Monday: May Edition

With the representative National Cup finals kicking off this week, we take a look back to some of our early round travels capturing plenty of action and drama along the way! 

We pick up our coverage with the girls Under 16 opening round match between Staffordshire and Oxfordshire at Stafford Town on the last Monday in April, an end to end match that needed penalties to decide the winner. 

Izzy Amphlett had given the visitors a 1-0 half time lead but the hosts were back on level terms midway through second half with a goal from Jess Powis. 

Despite chances at both ends to win in normal time the game finished 1-1 with the hosts snatching what looked like the winning goal less than a minute into extra-time, when Lottie MacMurray scored from the edge of the box. 

With the seconds ticking away, a sweeping move into the Staffordshire box gave Izzy Todeschini a sight of goal and she converted the chance to send the game to penalties, where Oxfordshire prevailed 5-3 to move into round two. 

Just over a week later, we ventured across the Welsh border as Swansea hosted West Cornwall in the second round of the boys PlayStation F.C. Under 15 Inter Association Trophy. This was another tie where the final score of 5-1 to Swansea did not tell the whole story, as West Cornwall had plenty of chances to essentially make this a basketball score! 

Alfie Downing and Kieran Norman gave the hosts a 2-0 half time lead and, despite multiple chances for the visitors to claw their way back into the game, they somehow found themselves 5-0 down with Cole Gibbings and Rory Burdett adding to Downing’s second goal to put the game beyond reach. 

Freddie Issaka, a constant threat for the visitors, scored arguably the best goal of the game to reduce the arrears, but it was mere consolation for a team who left for the long journey home wondering what might have been, had they converted just half of their chances on the afternoon. 

The following day we headed north to Teeside to cover a double header of action with Cleveland hosting South Yorkshire in both the U16 and U18 boys competitions at Billingham Town FC. 

First up was the Under 16 boys round 2 match where a single Ben Johnson header in the second half was enough to win the tie for Cleveland. The visitors must still be wondering how they didn’t grab an equaliser, the width of a crossbar was the closest they came as late pressure seemed like they would find the goal to take it to extra time. 

In the Under 18 boys round 2 match that followed, it was a Harry Close hat-trick that sealed a semi final berth for the north easterners with a 3-1 win as the weather moved from sunshine to rain and back again! 

South Yorkshire looked out of it midway through the first half as Close had put the hosts 2-0 ahead, but with the visitors pulling one back just before the break, they had hopes of a comeback. 

It was all to no avail though as they could not find a way past a stubborn Cleveland rear guard and when Close completed his three goal haul later in the game, it secured a last four trip to Gloucestershire. 

Finally, we headed back to South Wales the following day for a dramatic derby at Briton Ferry with West Glamorgan hosting Cardiff & The Vale in the Boys’ Under 16 Inter County Trophy. The game went back and forth with Cardiff nudging ahead only for West Glamorgan to draw level before the break before taking the lead in the second half. 

With the sunshine beating down on a glorious evening for football a long range effort drew Cardiff level and the game headed to extra time. 

Chances were limited in extra time and the game seemed destined for penalties, until the referee awarded a spot kick to Cardiff with barely a minute remaining and the visitors took full advantage to nick the 3-2 win and confirm a semi final trip to Kent. 

All in all a dramatic couple of weeks proving that representative football is still providing exciting opportunities for young students and we are sure that this week’s finals in Southampton can provide the same level of drama and kick off our finals programme in style.