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Ashfield v Thomas Telford

Ashfield School from Kirkby became the first Secondary school from Nottinghamshire since Rushcliffe School won the English Schools’ F.A. Under 16 R.A.F. Cup in 2007 to reach a national final when they defeated Thomas Telford School from Shropshire on penalties last Thursday March 2nd. The Under 14s from Ashfield had home advantage in the English Schools’ F.A. Open Cup in which schools may play an unlimited number of players who are members of professional Club Academies.

Their opponents were Thomas Telford School from Shropshire who must be considered the strongest football school in the country as is illustrated by the fact that last season they reached an amazing 12 national finals at different age groups, winning six of them and losing the other six. They also have a Director of Football well known in the local game, Des Lyttle, the former Nottingham Forest full back and have close links with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Ashfield looked understandably nervous in the early encounters in which the visitors dominated possession but their back five of Robinson, Else, Little, Sloan and Jackson proved very strong in snuffing out most of the attacks by Thomas Telford. Ashfield had very few chances in that period although their best effort was a header from Leighton Platts from a corner which was cleared off the line by a Telford defender.

The second half was very much like the first with Ashfield showing they were prepared to go toe to toe with their vaunted opponents who had won the National Cup at Under 13 level in 2015-16. Telford again had the better chances but Ellis Jackson, the home side’s keeper was in brilliant form and the score remained goalless at full time.

Despite pressing hard, Telford could not break down an Ashfield side which showed great heart and spirit with captain Sam Geeves leading the way and the home side came close near the end when Len Robinson’s powerful header just cleared the bar but it was still 0-0 when extra time time ended and so the game went to penalties.

Telford went on to miss their first three with Jackson saving two of them brilliantly whereas Sloan and Geeves rifled Ashfield’s first two efforts into the top corner. That left Tyreace Palmer the chance to score and take Ashfield into the final which he did superbly by sending the keeper the wrong way.

What a performance ! Good luck boys in the final .

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