Lancashire School Games Finals - Girls Football
9 July 2017
After winning the South Ribble competition, the girl’s football team entered the Lancashire School Games final with a determined attitude and a will to win.
In our first game, we faced a strong Fylde team who entered into every challenge with the same desire and commitment as ourselves. After going 1-0 down, we struck back through an excellent breakaway goal from Paige. Unfortunately, after conceding a goal with the last kick of the game, the final score was 2-1 to Fylde.
In the second game, we made six changes to the team as it was the turn of our Year Five girls – with Felicity in goal – to represent our school. Despite a whole-hearted, determined display, Darwin were the better team over the 10 minutes. Another goal from Paige wasn’t enough as we were beaten by 3-1.
Knowing we couldn’t qualify for the ‘Champions League’ competition, we experimented with the team to give everyone more playing time. All ten girls were involved in the final group game as we lost – 3-0 - to the eventual runners up, West Lancashire.
Following our lunch – and some positive words of encouragement from a few of the girls – we went into the afternoon session refreshed, re-energised and determined to win the ‘Europa League’ competition… and this is where our day got REALLY interesting!
Our Quarter final match pitted us against Chorley (and some of Naomi’s old school friends). Despite dominating the midfield with some brilliant passing from Felicity and wonderful dribbling from Paige, we found ourselves 1-0 down with only a few minutes to go. After a vital tackle from Aimee, Kiera played an excellent pass to Paige, who beat one defender before playing the ball into the path of Naomi who smashed the ball into the roof of the net! 1-1! …And to sudden-death penalties!
When we needed a hero, our amazing goalkeeper Esme stepped up! Penalty number one… saved! Penalty number two… saved! Penalty number three… saved! Penalty number four…saved! Penalty number five… a diving save to tip the ball onto the post! Saved! Unbelievable goalkeeping! So it was down to our fifth, and final, penalty taker: Kiera. As cool as a cucumber, she stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom corner. Cue wild celebrations from the girls. We were into the semi-finals!
The Semi-final saw us facing Blackpool. It was a game, once again, in which we needed our goalkeeper to be in top form: Esme made some great diving saves and her kicking was fantastic too. After one of her saves, she passed the ball out to Paige who dribbled from the halfway line, slalomed passed three defenders and smashed the ball into the top corner. 1-0! Aimee, Kiera, Molly and Macy all made some vital tackles throughout the game as Sanuli, and Naomi worked tirelessly to stop the opposition and set up our counter-attacks. Unfortunately, Blackpool equalised and with only three minutes to go. We needed a super-sub. On came Millie! Just seconds after coming on, Molly won the ball, in our own half, with an excellently times tackle, Naomi picked up the ball and played it down the left wing to Millie, who cut inside and coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner: giving the keeper no chance. Full time… 2-1 to Whitefield. We had made it to the final!
With excitement at fever-pitch, the final proved to be the perfect showcase for all the girls. Aimee and Kiera were solid in defense: making timely tackles and using their strength and power to stop the opposition. Esme made even more wonderful saves, Naomi led the line with strength when out of possession and calmness when on the ball and Felicity’s energy and ability to pick a pass was vital throughout. From being 1-0 down, we were quickly level through another solo goal from the always excellent Paige. At 1-1 we gambled! On came Molly and Macy, Millie and Sanuli and they didn’t disappoint! With only minutes left to play, Macy made a superb interception on the halfway line, shortly followed by a second tackle from Sanuli who passed the ball to Millie. Calmly, Millie played it to Paige who glided past one defender, then another. She was through on goal…
2-1! The crowd went wild! We were the Europa League champions!
A huge thank you and well done to all the girls who represented school so wonderfully in both tournaments. Their work rate, effort and commitment has been outstanding. They have asked for extra practices, played again the School B team and worked and worked to improve every time they trained and played. Each girl proved to be a vital component to the team and everyone at Whitefield is extremely proud of all of you. To finish as the 9th best girls football team in Lancashire is an incredible achievement. Well done girls!