ESFA Internationals, featured

Centenary Shield Match Report: England v Wales

The England U18 Schoolboys drew 1-1 with Wales at Hednesford Town on Friday 28th April to share the hummel Centenary Shield with their Welsh counterparts. England Captain Laiith Fairnie continued his scoring run from an England set piece and a fantastic turnout saw over 1300 fans supporting the Schoolboys at Hednesford Town FC.

England’s first big chance of the game came in the 16th minute when Rio Joisce’s freekick was tipped around the post by Webber in the Welsh Goal. The following corner was floated in by Joisce only to find the side netting.

The next big chance of the game fell to England with Ollie Fraser driving inside off the left, his shot was charged down by a Welsh defender with the ball falling to Oscar Fletcher. His close-range effort was well stopped by Webber in the Welsh goal who rushed out to smother the ball.

A midfield battle dominated the first half action with both teams attempting to gain control of the game England were racking up the corners with strong runs from Rio Joisce and Ollie Fraser, beating their full backs on multiple occasions. This pressure paid off in the 33rd minute when Rio Joisce whipped a corner deep onto the head of the onrushing Laiith Fairnie who put the England Schoolboys into the lead.

The England defence stood strong for the remainder of the first half, with Jasper Sheik claiming a floated cross into the box and the centre back’s dealing with aerial balls into the box well. A good first half from England saw them go into the break 1-0 up and on their way to lifting the hummel Centenary Shield.

England striker Sam Johnson had to first chance of the second half, his shot from the angle was deflected and flew agonisingly wide of the far post. Shortly after, Johnson was presented with a golden opportunity to double the lead when a header from Fletcher put the striker through on goal. His resulting effort was comfortably saved by the Welsh keeper who launched a counterattack, kicking the ball long. Murtas brought the ball down, skipped away from Smith and unleashed a devastating finish into the top corner giving Sheik no chance.

With the score level and both teams equal on points in the hummel Centenary Shield, both sides pushed for a winner. The next big chance fell to Johnson again, a quick one- two with Towns on the edge of the box bought Johnson some space and his low effort was brillianty tipped onto the post by Webber in the Welsh goal.

With two minutes to go, Oscar Fletcher delivered another brilliant free kick into the penalty area, once again finding the head of the captain Fairnie who this time headed just over the bar. The final chance of the game was created by second half substitute Aaron Cocks who found his fellow substitute Jay Sangha at the back post whose header into the ground couldn’t quite find the net.

The momentous fixture at Hednesford Town FC finished 1-1 meaning both teams finished on ten points in the hummel Centenary Shield, and the trophy was shared. Congratulations to both the Wales U18 Schoolboys and the England U18 Schoolboys on their brilliant campaigns.

Photo Credit: 353Photography

ESFA National Finals, featured, Girls' Football, PS Next Level

PlayStation Schools’ Cup Finals at West Bromwich Albion

Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming PlayStation Schools’ Cup National Finals at West Bromwich Albion’s Hawthorns stadium

The ESFA is delighted to be returning to the Hawthorns, home of West Bromwich Albion FC, for the PlayStation Schools’ Cup Finals 2023, taking place from Monday 22nd – Thursday 25th May. The finals will see 40 teams across the U12-U15 age groups compete for the chance to be crowned national champions!

West Bromwich Albion provides a fantastic venue to host the 20 finals, sponsored by PlayStation and by combining the use of the WBA Academy Dome as well as the main stadium, it provides every team with a fantastic match-day experience from warm up to their post-match meal.


You can see the full fixture schedule for the PlayStation Schools’ Cup Finals below, click left or right to see what games feature on which days.

Show your support

Entry is free of charge and no ticket will be required. Spectators will park in the East Stand Car Park and access the stadium via turnstiles located in the West Stand.  There is no cost to park in the stadium car park. There will be a refreshments kiosk available for spectators to purchase food and drinks.  Souvenir programmes will be available, free of charge.

All PlayStation Schools’ Cup Finals will be streamed live via the ESFA’s YouTube channel, ESFA TV. Each final will feature full commentary and provide a great viewing experience for all those supporters who are unable to travel to the stadium. A player of the match vote for each fixture will go live on the ESFA’s twitter page (@schoolsfootball) 10 minutes before full time so make sure you follow and get voting. Photographs of the day can also be purchased from the ESFA Official Photographer following the event.

The ESFA is delighted to be hosting these National Final events at such a fantastic venue and hope to welcome a number of spectators along to the event to cheer on this season’s finalists as they complete their schools’ football season.