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ESFA Super League 2019/2020 season review- 20/21 Draws are live!

With the ESFA Super League Draws for the 2021/22 season going live last week, we are looking back at the 2019/20 campaign in anticipation for the competitions return!

The ESFA U18 Super League is the newest Schools’ Cup competition offered by the ESFA. Introduced for the 2019/20 season, it is designed for those schools, colleges and sixth forms which offer a football academy or development programme. The creation of this competition was based on a decision to widen the U18 offering and ensure that students who benefit from regular football training, strength and conditioning and analytics sessions could be included in the competition portfolio.

The Inaugural Super League Season was a huge success, despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic. The group stages kicked off in September with regional groups battling it out for the top two spots and a place in the knockout rounds. On the men’s side, some favourites were quickly established with Park View School dominating the North east region scoring 29 goals along the way and conceding just 9. Wilson’s School were the highest scoring team in the group stage, with 31 goals, however still coming second in their group to a strong Harris City Academy Crystal Palace side. In the women’s competition the ESFA saw some teams shining through early, including Gateshead College, Thomas Telford School and Hartpury College, who kept their sheets sparkling clean going into the knockout stage.

The knockout rounds started after the Christmas break and the competition was heating up, with a spot in the final the goal for the remaining teams. A tight battle in the north saw Park View School scrape through on penalties against a strong Ashton-On-Mersey side, whilst down south, JMA fought off a strong Worthing College team to secure their spot in the semi final. Unfortunately the women’s competition was cut short due to the pandemic and the suspension of schools’ football in March 2020. Thomas Telford School had battled their way to a semi-final clash with Gateshead College whilst three teams remained in the bottom half of the draw, Barking Abbey Academy, St Joseph’s College and John Madejski Academy. It will be interesting to seeing how these teams progress in this season’s competition, to see who will be crowned as the first ESFA Women’s Super League Champions.

On the men’s side, John Madejski Academy booked their place in the final with a win over SEEVIC College and Park View triumphed over a strong Millfield School team in the first featured ESFA Super League match. You can watch the highlights of this semi final here.

The inaugural Men’s U18 Super League Final took place at St Andrews Stadium, home of Birmingham City FC, and saw Park View School take on John Madejski Acadmey. JMA came away winners on the day being crowned the first ever Men’s U18 Super League Champions. The full match report can be viewed here and the match replay is available to watch here.

The ESFA has been delighted with the feedback received from participants in the first year of the competition.

Mr Gamble from Park View School said “We were very impressed with the organisation and professionalism of the tournament. Although COVID had a big impact on spectators, the final itself was a brilliant occasion for our School / Sports Academy. We had over 1000 pupils watching the live stream which was brilliant for our players who were like superstars in the school.”

We cannot wait for the ESFA Super League to get back underway next season and see the best schools’ football teams from around the country battling it out! Check out this year’s groups and fixtures here.

ESFA National Finals, featured

Match Report: U13 PlayStation F.C. Schools’ Cup for B Teams

Glenmoor & Winton Academies 3 – 4 Hurstmere School
Wednesday 26 May 2021

A fantastic game of football was served up as Schools’ Football Week reached a fitting peak on a sunny afternoon at Selhurst Park. The odd goal in 7 gave Hurstmere School the crown despite a fantastic second half display from Glenmoor & Winton Academies. 

Both teams set out to push forward at every opportunity, giving us an end to end encounter with Hurstmere’s Marcel Gordon the first to test Charlie Vicary in the Glenmoor goal, with the keeper denying him on two occasions. It was the 12th minute when the deadlock was broken, as confusion in the Glenmoor rear guard allowed Louie Jordan to nick the ball past Vicary and give the Kent school a 1-0 lead. 

This following moments saw a sustained spell of pressure from Hurstmere and they doubled their advantage when Glenmoor cleared a corner – only for Sam McClaren-George to hit a first time shot from 35 yards out that looped over Vicary and into the net – maybe one of the best goals seen at Palace this season! 

Two minutes later, it was 3-0 as Jordan scored his second of the game; a loose clearance from Vicary was pounced on by the striker and he coolly slotted it home as the trophy looked destined for Kent with just a quarter of the game gone. 

Isaac Greenaway, in the Hurstmere goal, was called into action to snuff out a Glenmoor attack as the Bournemouth school looked for a way back into the tie. Charlie Thomas was causing all sorts of problems, coming close to adding to the lead on numerous occasions, but Vicary was showing no effects to his confidence and pulling off a couple of smart saves. 

As the first half seconds ticked away, Glenmoor came closest to scoring as Greenaway made a fine save to deny Rob Taylor and the resulting corner was headed just over by full back Cohen Ellement. The score remained 3-0 going into the interval.

Within two minutes of the start of the second half the south coast side were back in it as Harrison Marsh connected with a corner and the ball crossed the line – making it 3-1 and sparking hopes of a comeback. 

Just five minutes later and a foul on Harry Stevenson gave Glenmoor a free-kick 25 yards out. Jack Frankland’s strike was too hot for sub keeper William Hackett to handle and Bradley Walker knocked the loose ball home to reduce the arrears to 3-2. 

With just ten minutes to go, Hurstmere looked to have sealed the title as they scored a 4th. Charlie Thomas bundled home a rebound after Vicary had made an excellent save to deny Jake Beaumont’s header from a free-kick. 

Vicary denied Thomas a second shortly after, making a superb save with his feet. A minute left on the clock and Glenmoor reduced the deficit to 1, after Charlie White intercepted a pass out from keeper Hackett and hit a first time shot back over the keeper’s head and into the net. 

Despite a huge effort from Glenmoor, they could not find a way through to take the game to extra-time and Hurstmere held on for a dramatic 4-3 win in a truly excellent display of schools’ football. 

Congratulations to both teams for a game played in a manner deserving of a schools’ cup final with impeccable behaviour on and off the pitch, from two teams who were a credit to their schools and their families watching from the stands – well done boys! 

All that remained was for Louie Jordan to pick up the Man of the Match award for his hard working two goal display and for captain Charlie Seguin to lift the trophy for Hurstmere School – Under 13 PlayStation F.C. Schools Cup for B Teams winners for 2019/2020.