It was another action-packed day at Pride Park as the 2017 ESFA PlayStation Schools’ Cup Festival moved into Day Two.
A theme of this year’s Festival has been tightly contested games and today proved no different, with four out of the five finals being decided on penalties or by a one-goal margin.
The Under 14 Schools’ Cup for B Teams final got us underway and set the tone perfectly in a 3-3 thriller. Carshalton Boys’ Sports College raced into a 3-0 lead before some incredible fighting spirit from Audenshaw School brought them level, including a dramatic equaliser three minutes into injury time. However, Carshalton showed they weren’t phased by the setback and held their nerve to win 5-4 on penalties.
It was the Under 13 Small Schools’ Cup final next in what proved to be another closely fought encounter. It was the former school of Wayne Rooney, The De La Salle Academy, that would emerge victorious with a narrow 2-1 win against Ibstock Place School.
Match three of the day was the Under 13 Schools’ Cup for B Teams final, which would be the first goal-less game of the Festival as some resilient defences cancelled each other out. The cruel lottery of penalties would decide the outcome as Walkden High School won 4-3 on penalties against Kingsdale School. Both teams would receive a giant bonus, quite literally, in the post-match trophy presentation as Stoke City and England striker Peter Crouch supported the competition.
However, the next game of the day would make up for the lack of goals as the Under 14 Small Schools’ Cup final produced a seven-goal thriller. After racing into a 3-1 lead, Bury Grammar School were pegged back by a dogged St Bernard’s team who showed great determination. However, their efforts were to fall short as Bury secured a 4-3 victory.
There was a great standard of football in the final game of the day as Ellesmere Port Catholic High School and Langley School played out the Under 15 Small Schools’ Cup. Langley, coached by former Norwich City star Darren Eadie, put on an incredible display as they ran out 5-0 winners.