Here’s how Wednesday’s finalists reached this point in the ESFA Playstation Schools’ Cup Festival:
Bishop’s Stortford High School
Bishop’s Stortford High School saw their U15 Boys team get taken to penalties in the first round, winning 5-4 against St Bonaventures RC School after the thrilling 4-4 draw. Taylor shone in the 5th round, scoring 4 goals including a second half hat-trick in a 6-0 win against Plume School. A tough test awaited Bishop’s Stortford in the Semi-Final, but Bradley Taylor’s two goals in the hotly contested match meant it finished 2-1 in Bishop’s Stortford’s favour.
Thomas Telford School have 3 teams competing in the final day of the PlayStation Schools’ Cup Festival. Here’s how their U15 Boys, U14 Girls and U14 teams made it to the Finals:
Another Thomas Telford U15 Boys’ team find themselves in another Festival Final, starting their route to the final with a 2-0 win at Shrewsbury School. Thomas Telford picked up pace with a 7-0 win in the 2nd round, followed by 2 consecutive 3-1 away victories. A thrilling 8th round match against Cardinal Heenan Catholic Sports College saw both teams sharing 6 goals after extra time although Thomas Telford took the win 5-4 on penalties. A more convincing 6-2 win against Wolfreton School sees Thomas Telford U15 Boys’ through to the U15 Boys’ Cup Final at Madejski Stadium.
The U14 Girls’ Cup sees another Thomas Telford team vying for a trophy. The Thomas Telford U14 Girls team got through a difficult 1st round match against Wodensborough Ormiston Academy, grinding out a well-earned 1-0 win. A flurry of goals in the second round saw Thomas Telford score 8 past RSA Academy and then keep their defensive form going through to the next round with another 1-0 win. A display of attacking prowess was witnessed in the 6th round, beating Cowley International College 11-1, with hat-tricks from Sophie Bramford and Jess Jennings. Carrying on this winning form in the next round, Thomas Telford then went on to take the Semi-Final in a 5-3 thriller away to South Hunsley School.
Thomas Telford U14’s boys team secured their place in the U14 Schools’ Open Cup, which will be the final game played at the PlayStation Schools’ Cup Festival. With comfortable victories in the first 3 rounds of the competition, Thomas Telford faced stern competition from Northampton School for Boys in the 4th round, but overcame the challenge with a 4-2 comeback after trailing 2-1 at half time. Another spirited performance by the boys saw two extra time goals against Crompton House School to secure a Semi-Final place. A tricky away tie to St Francis Xavier’s College called for Cian Fenlon to score in the first half and win the game for a dogged Thomas Telford School.
Westfield U14 Boys’ team were tested in the first 2nd round against King James School, narrowly winning 1-0 with just a goal from Chandler Gibson the difference between the two teams. Yet to concede, Westfield went into the 6th round with a sterling defensive record of 4 consecutive clean sheets. The barrier was broken by West Bridgford School, but to no avail as Westfield scored 2 in each half to secure a 4-1 win. With another solid defensive performance, the U14 Boys team defeated Thomas Telford School 2-0, with goals from Holden and Gibson proving to be the difference.
St Aloysius College
St Aloysius College proved an attacking force to be reckoned with early on, scoring 10 unanswered goals past Holloway School in the 2nd round. In one of the most competitive games of the tournament, we witnessed a 10 goal thriller, drawing 5-5 to Edenham High School after extra time in the 4th round. Olopade, O’Neill-Henry, Chimeras and Mills all stepped up to the plate in the 4-1 victory in the penalty shoot-out. St Aloysius, with their fair share of dramatic wins, took it right to extra-time in their Semi-Final against Little Heath School, winning 2-0 with goals from Denzelle Olopade and Ryan Alebiosu.
Ivybridge Community College
After two convincing clean sheet victories, Ivybridge U14 B team reacted to conceding 2 goals in the second half of their 4th round game well, scoring 3 goals in extra time to win 5-2. Ivybridge U14’s produced another thrilling game away to Ravens Wood School, with Browne scoring twice for Ivybridge and setting up a tense penalty shoot-out. Adam, Browne and Taylow stepped up to the plate and buried their penalties to eventually win 3-1, setting up the Final against Cardinal Heenan in the Boys Under 14 PlayStation Schools’ Cup for B Teams.
Cardinal Heenan are back in the Final, after their U14 Boys team were pipped to the post on penalties in last year’s Final. This year their U14 Boys’ B team are fighting for a trophy. They endured a tough 1st round game away to Bishop Heber High School, narrowly winning 1-0. The 3rd round saw a sterling second half performance from Cardinal Heenan, with goals from Laite, Robinson, Kamara and Gornell taking a 6-2 win. Cardinal Heenan travelled to Tytherington School in a tense Semi-Final, the duration of the game could not separate the two teams and neither could extra-time, ending in a 2-2 draw. The U14 boys then kept their cool to win 6-5 in a fiercely contested Semi-Final penalty shoot-out.
St Ivo School
St Ivo U14 Girls’ team made their mark on this competition with an 11-0 demolition of City of Peterborough Academy with Speed providing 6 goals. Another stunning victory in the 4th round saw Speed scoring a further 4 goals and Jefferson scoring a first half hat-trick. After string of comprehensive victories, St Ivo School went into the Semi-Final in fine form. This was the difference, as we saw them defeat Ruislip High School 4-0 at home. This St Ivo team will be playing in their 2nd consecutive Final after coming runners up in the U13 Playstation Schools’ Cup for Girls last year.
Hove Park School
Hove Park School will have their U14 Boys’ team to cheer on in the U14 Open Schools’ Cup. The Brighton & Hove outfit started their campaign with a thrilling 4-3 2nd round win in extra-time after a 6 goal thriller could not separate the two teams. This momentum carried through to the next two games, scoring 7 goals in each and only conceding two to Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys in the 3rd round. Hove Park School then secured their place in the Final of the U14 Boys’ Open School’s Cup with a convincing 5-3 victory over Ivybridge Community College.