ESFA National Finals, featured

ESFA U18 Super League Final- A day to remember at St Andrews

The first ever U18 Super League Final saw Park View School and John Madejski Academy travel to St Andrews, home of Birmingham City, to battle for the right to make history and be the first to put their name on the trophy.

As expected the game got off to a frantic start with Park View initially on the front foot although clear chances were few and far between with Michael Spellman the first to call keeper Joe Whiter into action with a shot from the edge of the box palmed away for a corner.

JMA almost took advantage of a couple of loose passes in the Park View defence, firstly when Josh Crews under hit a pass on the edge of his own box, but Ezio Touray was crowded out of getting a clear shot on goal. Touray did however get a shot on target following Ben Milburn’s misplaced pass a few minutes later but James Anderson was equal to it in the Park View goal.

Midway through the half and the Berkshire side took the lead, Ollie Allen winning the ball in midfield before sliding a pass through to Wade Muttitt whose shot found its way through the legs of Anderson for a 1-0 lead.

As the half ticked on it looked like the next goal would go JMA’s way with their confidence growing, but just as the half time whistle beckoned they were pegged back. Spellman showed great pace to keep the ball in play and his cross into the box saw the fall to  Cameron Brewis who fired home from 8 yards out.

Early in the second half, with the sun now shining after the first half rain, the game sparked to life with two quick goals, the first heading JMA’s way with their first attack of the half.

Ben Ramsey’s volley for Park View seconds after the re-start flew millimetres wide of Whiter’s far post and within moments there was a goal at the opposite end. Touray was played into the box by Harvey Harry and as Milburn attempted to clear the danger the ball rebounded off the JMA forward and into the net.

However, the lead was short lived as a corner for Park View was headed home at the far post by Harrison Clark just five minutes later to level the scores at 2-2 and once again put the tie in the balance.

Clark went close with a long range shot not long after as Park View were spurred on by their equaliser and went on the hunt for their first lead of the game.

Toby Raggett tried his luck from distance for JMA but Anderson saved. Shortly after Raggett had an even better opportunity after being played in by Muttitt but his shot from just inside the box was saved well again by Anderson.

Park View will wonder how Ben Ramsey did not find his way onto the scoresheet, his shot from 6 yards somehow cleared the crossbar and he was then denied by Whiter, the keeper pulling off a fine save from Ramsey after initially clearing a low cross from Johnathan Crisp.

JMA were hanging on with players playing out of position and one of those, forward Ezio Touray, making a sensational last ditch tackle to deny Joe Malone a clear strike on goal inside the final 10 minutes.

Ramsey was again in the spotlight as Clark’s low cross from a free-kick fell to him 6 yards out but he could only look on in disbelief as the ball cleared the crossbar with what would have been the winner with just 4 minutes to play.

Deep into stoppage time Ramsey’s outstretched boot denied JMA a late opportunity in the Park View box and the first ever Super League final drifted into an extra 20 minutes. With players on both sides becoming increasingly tired, the additional time brought very few clear chances for either side with a penalty shoot-out almost inevitable.

With the camera’s on them the first two players stood up to take their kicks. Ollie Allen and Player of the Match Harrison Clark confidently converted to make the score 1-1.

Touray and Ramsey converted to make it 2-2 after two penalties each before Raggett put JMA 3-2 ahead with a strike that hit the underside of the bar on its way into the net.

Joe Whiter was then the hero for JMA with back to back saves sandwiching Joe Waight’s conversion, first diving to his left to save from Joe Malone and then using his legs to deny Park View skipper Ben Milburn and confirm JMA as the first ever U18 Super League Champions.

Both teams should be congratulated for not only reaching this stage but also putting on an excellent display at St Andrews in what was a superb final, that could have gone either way throughout the entire 110 minutes.

Congratulations to the Player of the Match Harrison Clark from Park View school who was voted for by viewers on ESFA TV.

Congratulations to John Madejski Academy, U18 Super League Champions for 2019/2020.

The full match can be watched for free here and a digital programme from the final can be downloaded below.

A big thank you our official photographer Garry Griffiths from ThreeFiveThree photography for writing this report. His superb photos from the game will be available to view shortly via his website and will be shared on our twitter page ( @schoolsfootball).

ESFA National Finals, featured

ESFA Super League Final- Meet the teams

In the build up to the ESFA’s very First Super League National Final, we delve a little deeper into the teams battling it out for this prestigious title.

Wednesday 19 May 2021 will see Park View Academy from Durham take on the John Madejski Academy (JMA) from Reading in the long awaited 2019/20 season finale for the ESFA U18 Super League.

The two teams will travel to Birmingham City’s St Andrews Stadium, a suitable arena for two top footballing sides to fight for this prestigious title. Unfortunately due to ongoing restrictions no spectators will be allowed attend the event. The good news is that the final will be live-streamed from the ground and available to watch via the ESFA’s YouTube channel, ESFA TV, with full commentary throughout.

So Lets meet our finalists…

Park View School

Park View Academy of sport are formally apart of Carlisle United’s academy structure and have strong ties with the League two side. 7 players from Park View’s squad have trained and played within Carlisle’s academy setup even training around their first team and attending their preseason tour to Hungary. Back in 2019 some of the squad travelled to Thailand to play the Thailand national side.

Park View School started their Super League campaign in Group A (North East) and came away easy winners winning all 7 of their group stage match ups. A 9-2 win over York College certainly caught the attention of others in the competition and gave them momentum to claim a demanding 10-1 win over Barnsley College in the round of 32. The next round saw them face a strong Ashton-on-Mersy School who battled hard to take the tie to a penalty shootout. The team from Durham kept their nerve and won the penalty shootout setting up an away trip to Bishop Burton College in the Quarter Finals. Park View School reasserted their dominance in this round with a comfortable 5-2 victory. After a long break due to the pandemic, Park View School made the trip to Quorn FC at the end of April to play Millfield School from the South West for the Semi Finals. This game was full of twists and turns but Park View secured a spot in the final with a 4-0 win. This match is available to watch in full or as highlights over on our YouTube channel ESFA TV.

Park View School have scored an impressive 44 goals from 9 games so far in the competition and only conceded 9, emphasising their formidable talent at both ends of the pitch.

See Park View’s Squad for the national final below:

Squad NumberPlayer Name
James Anderson 
Cameron Mcharg 
Josh Crews 
Harrison Clark 
Ben Milburn 
Sean Dippenaar 
Ben Ramsey 
Cameron Brewis 
Joe Malone 
10 Michael Spellman 
11 Jonathon Chrisp 
12 Jackson Ward 
13 Liam Paul 
14 Taylor Robinson 
15 Tom Shanley 
16 Louis Calvert 

John Madjeski Academy (JMA)

JMA Academy which was established in 2008 and has strong links with EFL Championship side Reading FC have a history of success in ESFA competitions winning the U18 National Schools’ Cup back in 2012. Five of the squad playing in this national final also won the U18 team national final in 2019 which was hosted at Shrewsbury FC with Joe Whiter receiving Man of the Match and Will Okine-Peters getting on the scoresheet.

JMA started the Super League competition in Group 1 (South Central) and came out of the group unbeaten, with a standout 9-2 win over Farnborough Sixth Form College making them a team to watch going into the knockout stages. The Knockout stages kicked off with a tight 3-1 win over Wilson’s School before an 8-3 goal fest in the round of 16 vs Wentworth International College. The Quarter Final stage saw JMA host worthing college and narrowly escape knockout with a 1-0 victory before facing a strong SEEVIC College Side in the semi-final. On the day they came away with a 4-0 victory to book their ticket to the St Andrew’s Stadium for this much anticipated final. JMA have scored 35 goals on their way to the final with Ezio Touray scoring 10 and Will Okine-Peters and Joe Waight both chipping in with 6. They have also only conceded 13 goals in 8 games on their route to the final showing that their strength doesn’t solely lie in their attacking threat.

See JMA’s squad for the national final below:

Squad Number Player Name

Make sure you tune into the final on ESFA TV at 2pm on Wednesday 19th May for what is certain to be a top quality game of football. The ESFA Social channels ( @schoolsfootball) on twitter and Instagram will be following the final so make sure to give them a follow to get score updates and behind the scenes footage.