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FROME College’s U-16 girls team has made it through to the final of the English Schools Football Association Cup after a 4-4 full-time result led to a penalty shootout.
Frome College welcomed the U16 girls’ team from Stoke Newington School in Tower Hamlets on Friday 27th January, in what was a hotly anticipated semi-final.
The whole school had been talking about the game all week, and the players were ready to write themselves into the history books of Frome College.
In front of a bumper crowd of students, teachers and parents, the game started well with both teams exchanging some excellent play across the pitch, but neither team were able to break the deadlock.
It took until the mid-point of the first half for the opening goal, some good play in midfield resulting in a well taken goal by Stoke Newington (who had a Chelsea and an Arsenal player in their side). Soon after, Frome College rallied, and Katie Minty latched onto a through ball to slot home the equaliser. Stoke Newington again went ahead, before Frome’s Ellie Strippel found the net to go into half time at 2-2.
The second half started at a frantic pace and Ellie Strippel scored again to take Frome ahead in the match for the first time. Stoke Newington once again proved they were no pushovers and equalised again to make it 3-3.
The rest of normal time yielded a number of chances for both sides with woodwork being hit, chances going begging and both keepers making some crucial saves. Neither team could find the winner and the game headed into extra time, much to the crowds delight.
The first period of extra time was a cagey affair, with few chances. Stoke Newington were pressing hard and their forwards had some chances to take the lead, but Frome College’s defence stood firm, and along with Betty Restorick in goal, denied them the goal they were seeking.
Half time score in extra-time, 3-3. The game went into the final 10 minutes with neither team wanting to lose at this late stage. With only two minutes remaining, Stoke Newington took the lead, and that looked to be it.
The girls from Frome are made of hardy stuff, however, and really dug deep to put Stoke Newington under a lot of pressure and with only seconds left, Chloe Gilroy picked the ball up about 20 yards from goal and unleashed an absolute world class goal into the top corner to make the final score 4-4! The game would be decided by penalties.
After equalising in the final seconds of the game, the girls were on a high and feeling confident going into the penalty kicks.
Ellie Strippel, Chloe Gilroy, Katie Minty, Maya Seviour and Enna Christmas, all put their hands up and wanted to take the first five penalties, nerves of steel from all of them!
Stoke Newington took the first penalty, scoring before Ellie stepped up and slotted her penalty away. Betty pulled off more heroics by saving the SN penalty, before Chloe Gilroy scored to put Frome College ahead.
Once again Betty Restorick saved the next SN penalty allowing Katie to stride forward with confidence to take hers, unfortunately just pulling the ball wide of the goal. The next SN player then hit the crossbar, meaning that if Maya Seviour could score, Frome College were heading to the final.
Sadly it wasn’t to be, as she hit the post. Stoke Newington then needed to score the final penalty to keep the game. The crowd went silent, all eyes on Betty Restorick in goal, and the SN penalty taker.
The penalty was taken, and as the ball struck the post the crowd exploded into a volcano of noise! Winners and through to the cup final! 226 teams entered the competition, and now Frome College are in the top 2, with an excellent chance of become the 2017 Champions.
Good luck in the Final to the Frome College Team: Betty Restorick, Josey Taylor, Enna Christmas, Macy Ford, Gabbie Bird, Ellie Strippel, Chloe Gilroy, Katie Minty, Maya Seviour, Martha Peet, Chloe Hill, Chloe Tanner, Rachel Pullen, Izzy Book.
Report by Richard Swaine, PE teacher