With football fixtures coming thick and fast, the Year 10 Football Team faced Beaumont School from St Albans, Hertfordshire in the English Schools Football Association Cup with one of their star midfielders in goal!
As Mr Cumberland and Mr Cain finalised their starting line-up for this crucial match for the strongest opponent this side had faced to date, they were hit by news that both their goal keepers would be out due to injury! However, backed by his team mates, up stepped midfielder Luke Barnes to take on this key role.
What a match it was! In wet and windy conditions, the match still had nine goals and and Academy team performance described by a spectator on Twitter as ‘a credit to the Academy. Great sportsmanship and team ethics. Pleasure to watch.’ From the start the Academy side were on the attack and scored after two minutes of play when Callum Fratel was put through and calmly and confidently took his chance.
Daniel Horton and Matthew Hazell were phenomenal throughout the entire game. They were physical, calm, and confident when they had the ball and applied a lot of pressure as soon as Beaumont School gained possession. They were fantastic and controlled the midfield. As we progressed through the first half, a ball was played to Charlie Brown down the left wing which he ran onto and chipped the goal keeper who was rushing out to close him down to make the score 2-0. This was then followed by a third when a similar pass was made to Charlie who again chipped the goalkeeper to make the score 3-0.
Beaumont School did have chances in the first half however, Luke Barnes made some fantastic saves. Luke, in addition to the defence consisting of Lewis Hutchings, Luke Slater, Ieuan Turner, and Kieran Dolan kept Beaumont school out, up until around two minutes before half time when their striker neatly slotted the ball into the corner making it 3-1 at half time.
Vincent Ramilloza played on the right wing and created a lot of chances for us, whilst at the same time working extremely hard to follow their wingers when they were attacking. It was this kind of attitude and work rate which meant the match was so entertaining.
In the second half we were against the wind which made it very difficult at times to get out of our half due to passes literally stopping in the air and coming back towards us. I am pleased to say our change of tatics and formation to accommodate this worked very well!
Charlie Brown dropped back into midfield and Matt Hazell then undertook the defensive midfield role to stop the Beaumont striker from creating too many chances. They did this very well and it allowed us to gain more possession which then lead to Callum Fratel playing a great pass to Farron Leggett-Gage, who then beat two players and got a shot away which struck the cross bar, which was then followed up by Charlie Brown to tap it into the net. Charlie Brown was to score again after he beat two players and then the goal keeper, in the process of being fouled, to make the score 5-1.
Nathan Baker and Matthew Tetley both came on during the second half and did fantastically well. Nathan’s fresh legs helped the team as he was able to track Beaumont’s very influential winger and stop him from creating chances for their school as he was threat throughout the game. Matt played as a defensive midfielder which also stopped their attacking players from creating too many chances. He later went onto play at centre back when Ieuan Turner suffered an injury.
Beaumont school were very attacking at this point, trying to find a way back into this game. This approach in tactics allowed Farron Leggett-Gage to run onto a ball just inside their own half, take it round the keeper, and calmly place the ball into the back of the net. Beaumont School continued to press with the wind behind them and were able to have a lot of shots at our goal which lead to them scoring two in quick succession.
However this did not affect the team as we continued to play some outstanding football to see out the game. Final score 6-3 to Felixstowe Academy.
Both Mr Cain and I are extremely proud of this team, not only for their physical performances on the pitch but also for their attitude towards staff, the officials and their opponents. A number of schools that are still in the competition are big city schools with a vast array of players to choose from, but each time this Academy team has come up against them they have performed to an extremely high level. This result means that we are in the last 16 out of 664 schools in England.
The next round has been made and we are playing away at Beauchamp College in Leicestershire - so a long trip ahead for the team.
Please can you congratulate the team if you come across them within the Academy, as this is the furthest we have ever got in the competition by a long way including our legacy schools. Well done!
The Year 10 squad included: