Latest News - 26 November 2013
There were mixed fortunes for two of the Nottinghamshire Schools’ F.A. representative sides last week as the Under 18s lost 2-1 while the Under 16 Girls won 3-1. The Under 18s arrived at Bilbrough Pelican in high spirits after their 3-1 victory over Greater Manchester in the English Schools’ F.A. County Championship 2nd Round and selected an unchanged side for their 3rd Round game against West Midlands.
Nottinghamshire again started brightly with some high tempo play with Ed Hodgson and Niall Davey leading the way. The home side did not allow West Midlands back into the game with the defensive players, Kyle Johnson, Josh Spencer, Max Brown, Mason Frizelle and Luke Proctor never looking in trouble. Notts could count themselves unlucky as they had the majority of the possession but could not find a finish to some fine build-up play and the sides went in level at 0-0.
Surprisingly, Notts returned in a slugglish manner and two goals from the visitors in the first five minutes negated the first half’s performance and although they soon raised their game, it was not until five minutes from time that McCauley Gillen scored for the penalty spot. This caused Nottinghamshire to throw everyone forward but the elusive equaliser did not come as West Midlands held on for their 2-1 win.
The Nottinghamshire Girls’ squad travelled to Moorways Stadium in Derby for their first qualifying match in their bid to reach the national stages of the E.S.F.A County Championship. Notts made a great start as the outstanding Ellie Brazil (Rushcliffe School) was put through and from 20 yards hit the ball over the keeper with a fine finish. Minutes later they made it 2-0 when Laura Meyrick (Arnold Hill) moved in from the left sided berth and her shot found its way past the keeper although realistically, she should have saved it.
Notts then allowed Derbyshire back into the game as they started trying to dribble the ball which proved difficult on a ‘bobbly’ pitch with long grass. Another factor was that the side selected had not played together before They were frequently caught in possession which gave the home side the chance to get back into the game which they did when Emma Wilkinson’s corner found its way over the defence and Natalie Archer’s head into the far corner of the net.
Some half time advice about the best way to play on a difficult pitch soon bought its rewards with Notts generally dominating the game with Olivia Walker, the main choice keeper, having relatively little to do. When she was brought into action, her handling was impeccable, but Notts were given momentum for the back where Charlotte Staggles (Sherwood e-Act Academy) and Cala Thornton (Dagfa House School) used their strength to push Notts forward. Zoe Gretton (West Bridgford) helped them with a promising debut on the left of midfield.
Steggles went close before a terrific run down the left from Brazil took her past three defenders and into the penalty box but when she let the ball run through to Tebbutt the latter should have scored into an empty net but Derbyshire’s keeper recovered quickly to block her shot on the line.
This escape was only temporary as after a similar run from Brazil, she squared the ball to Tebbutt who this time short over the keeper into the net. Although the pace of the home side’s left winger three times ended in dangerous crosses, each just avoided the advancing players with only one of them troubling Walker, it was Notts who ended the game on top with Meyrick hitting the bar and two other chances being missed as they deservedly won 3-1.
The squad for this game was Olivia Walker (Retford Oaks), Natalie Archer (Arnold Hill), Bethan Bough (Arnold Hill), Charlotte Staggles, Cala Thornton, Holly Chalmers (Carlton-le-Willows), Mollie Higgins (Trinity), Esme Crosby (Arnold Hill),Zoe Gretton (West Bridgord), Tiffany Elliott (Sherwood e-Act Academy), Molly Parker (Carlton-le-Willows, Beth Heath-Harvey (West Bridgford), Lucy Belz (South Wolds, Keyworth), Ellie Brazil, Laura Meyrick (Arnold Hill). The next game will be against Lincolnshire in the second week or December.
This squad was missing Ashleigh Plumptre (Becket) who for the next two weeks is representing England Under 17s in the European Championships which are being staged in the Midlands. Ellie Brazil is also in with the chance of international honours, this time for the England Schools’ Under 15 girls squad; after two trials, she is one of 19 players selected for a training camp in February before the final squad is chosen.
Nottingham Schools’ two senior sides met Leeds in two friendly matches at Highfields on Saturday in almost perfect playing conditions despite an early morning frost. In the Under 15 match, Nottingham defended very well throughout the match, especially as Leeds created the early pressure with sustained attacks. After ten minutes, Nottingham were able to threaten Leeds with their speed and wing play while the midfield and defence remained solid to keep the half-time score at 0-0. Few clear chances were created by either side.
The same pattern continued after the break with attacks at each end. Nottingham’s keeper, Ashlee Salt (Fernwood School) had to be alert but dealt confidently with whatever came his way although he did need help on one occasion when midfield player Will Hart (Nottingham High) headed off the line.
As the game became ‘stretched’, Nottingham created several chances and it was Leeds’ turn to clear off the line following a Tyrique Richards (Bluecoat Academy) shot which had the visiting keeper stranded. Despite some near misses, the game finished 0-0 which reflected two well matched teams who attacked repeatedly but lacked a cutting edge.
The City Under 14 side had a more sobering experience losing 5-0 to a slick Leeds side. This result does not tell the whole story as the Nottingham side were well in control for the first 20 minutes and could well have gone ahead.
Gradually, the Leeds side took over and began to dominate, taking a 2-0 half time lead. After the break, Leeds side took full control as the City side began to fade and were not helped when their central midfield player and captain, Riley Parton suffered a badly cut leg which required hospital treatment. Leeds scored three more goals in the second half to win comfortably 5-0.
The final qualifying round of the Under 11 5-a-side competition organised by the City Schools’ Association in collaboration with Notts County’s Football in the Community Department took place at Ellis Guilford School on Tuesday. The teams played each other on a league basis with Milford (Clifton) winning with 11 points from their matches and Robert Shaw finishing second with nine.
Unlike the two previous preliminary rounds, relatively few goals were scored either because of the cold conditions or because of resolute defending. The highest score of the evening came from Middleton School who defeated Robert Shaw 3-0 which did not stop the latter qualifying with Milford for the finals which will take place at the same venue.
The other qualifiers from the previous weeks were Fernwood, Old Basford, Seagrave and Nottingham High School’s Junior section, all with hopes of progress to one of the Football Leagues’ Community competitions as winners of the overall tournament.