Latest News - 4 March 2014
Nottinghamshire’ Under 16 Girls’ Squad, which is a joint venture between the Nottinghamshire F.A. and the Schools’ F.A have reached the semi-final of the English Schools’ County Championship for the fourth time since 2007 by defeating Lancashire 3-1 last week in the last eight of the competition at Gresham Centre’s 3G pitch in Wilford.
The game was strongly influenced by a strong wind blowing directly down the exposed pitch and Nottinghamshire made full use of their first half advantage although, in fact, both side played better football against the wind as the ball did not run away from the forwards.
Notts went ahead after 20 minutes when Ashleigh Plumptre who has represented the England Under 17 squad took a 25 yard free-kick on the right of the penalty box and swung a left foot shot into the top right corner of Meghan Pope’s goal.
Nottinghamshire seemed still to be celebrating their lead a minute later when a mistake in the centre of their defence left Mayumi Gillam a clear run on goal and she calmly beat Olivia Walker in the Notts goal. Lancashire nearly scored a second two minutes later when after some more slack defending, a loose ball was hooked onto the top of the bar.
Notts then broke away and Ellie Brazil (who will be representing England Schools’ Under 15 squad in an international match against Scotland at Maidstone United’s ground on Saturday) shot into the side netting. A minute later, a quick break saw Tiffany Elliott pick up the ball 30 yards out and she hit a fine shot to give Notts a 2-1 lead.
Lancashire hit the bar again before Notts scored a crucial goal just before the interval. A shot from Plumptre in open play took a big deflection off a defender and left the goalkeeper helpless for a 3-1 lead.
With Notts facing the wind in the second period, they certainly needed a two goal cushion which was proved after four minutes when Georgia Lambe hit the inside of the post for Lancashie but the ball bounced clear. Notts tended to defend too deeply but some excellent tackles and blocks particularly from Charlotte Steggles and Cala Thornton and some sound keeping from Olivia Walker kept the visitors out. They were well supported by Bethan Bough and second half substitute Lucy Belz.
In the last 20 minutes, Lancashire’s pressure diminished as some positional changes gave more protection to the back four although the cramp-stricken Cala Thornton and keeper Olivia Walker still needed to make some telling blocks and saves. Notts, however, held on for the win and will now travel to Greater Manchester today (Tuesday) for the semi-final.
There was further success for the County when the Schools’ Under 18 side defeated Lincolnshire 2-1 on a superb surface at Collingham last Monday to give themselves a chance of reaching the Midland Counties semi-final if they defeated Derbyshire last night at Clipstone. A back three of Mason Frizelle, Max Brown and Josh Spencer was the basis of the Nottinghamshire victory but it was Liam Motson who forced an error from a casual back four and set up Niall Davey to hit a shot which went in off the post.
Notts continued in fine form after the break and could have scored again when good passing from Sam Burrows, Nitin Mistra and Motson allowed the overlapping Burrows to cross just a few inches away from the feet of Davey. Liam Motson’s pace and strength continued to cause Lincolnshire problems and when goalkeeper Cuff sent a long ball through the middle, he used the latter to out muscle the defenders and hit the ball into the bottom corner for the winner.
On the inter-school scene, Nottingham Emmanuel School reached the final of the Under 15 Forest Bowl with a 4-1 win over Toot Hill Academy (Bingham) to set up a City Ground final with Nottingham Academy. In the Under 14 Vase competition, Nottingham Academy have the chance of two sides in the Finals Night but their match against Rushcliffe has been delayed by waterlogged pitches.
In the Nottinghamshire County Cups, two of the girls’ finals are now in place and it is hoped to play them before Easter. West Bridgford are in both, the Year 9 ( (Under 14) Active Sports Shield and Year 7 West Bridgford Colts Shield. In both age groups, they won 4-1, beating Joseph Whitaker (Rainworth) in the latter and Carlton-le-Willows Academy at Under 14 level.
Pleasingly, their opponents are both newcomers of to girls’ County Cup Finals with East Leake Academy beating George Spencer (Stapleford ) 6-2 in the Year 7 semi-final and City side Fernwood winning 3-2 after extra time against Redhill (Arnold)
Three City teams were in action at the week-end, all three away. The U13s were at York playing their West Yorkshire league game. The city side made two good chances in the first ten minutes but failed to take either, which gave their opponents the chance to take the lead in the twenty-fifth minute when the Nottingham defence failed to clear a ball. This was the half time score. York then took control in the second half, scoring twice before Joe Ward (Fernwood School) pulled one back with a clever lob over the York keeper. The York side was worth their 3-1 victory. Nottingham U13s travel away again next week to play in the same competition against Scarborough.
The U11s also travelled to York and were also playing in the West Yorkshire League. They have had a successful time so far this season but found York on very good form. In a hard fought game the two sides were neck and neck for a while with York scoring first after five minutes but the city boys pulled level with a well taken goal scored by Kenton Small (Milford School) who is in a rich scoring vein at the moment. Neither team pulled away as the scoring continued to 2-2, that man Kenton Small scoring a second. However the Yorkshire outfit had the outstanding forward on the day and displayed their superiority by running out 5-2 winners. It will be interesting to see if the Nottingham side can redress the balance as their next game is against York again. This time it’s the semi final of the West Yorkshire Cup to be played at home at the University’s Highfield Sports’ Ground on Saturday (10.30 K O).
Earlier in the week the under thirteen girls outdoor 5-a-side tournament took place at Ellis Guilford School. The winners were Emmanuel School who went unbeaten on the night winning six of their games and drawing two. The runners up were Ellis Guilford who were also unbeaten but won three and drew four. Nine schools took part in a very enjoyable and entertaining competition with plenty of skill on display.