On Thursday 22nd November, the Girls’ football team travelled to Melbourne Park in Chelmsford to compete in the Essex County Schools FA Under-11s Girls’ 7-a-side Cup. The competition brought together the best teams from all over Essex so the standard of competition was going to be high.
The afternoon started with the group stages with 4 games to play; each game being 9 minutes one way. The girls, full of excitement and energy, were keen to get playing but had to wait for the first two matches to be played before their first game. The girls’ first game got underway. They produced some great challenges and close shots at goal. The time was ticking into the final minute when the girls managed to find a way through the defenders and pop the ball in the back of the net winning their first game 1-0.
In the second game, the girls continued their form: applying pressure, attacking ability and once again a number of shots towards the goal. The time ticked by and, in the final few minutes, the girls got a corner, crossed the ball into the box and passed it into the top left corner. With only a few minutes left to play, the girls continued to press. When the final whistle was blown, the game ended 1-0.
The girls then had two more games to wait before their third match. The third game got underway. Both teams applied lots of pressure and showed strong attacking ability as well as strong defensive ability. The girls managed to get a few shots at goal but were unable to get the ball past the keeper with the game ending 0-0.
The girls then played the final game of the group stage with the result of this game deciding which team went through to the semi-finals. They focused on the game ahead of them and, from the start, pressed the ball and managed to hit the back of the net. They then continued to show great strength, not only in their attacking ability but also their defensive ability, by winning the ball and going on to score another 3 goals. The game finished 4-0 and they had done enough to earn themselves a place in the semi-finals.
West Leigh 1-0 St Mary’s CofE Primary
West Leigh 1-0 The Downs Primary
West Leigh 0-0 RA Butler Academy
West Leigh 4-0 John Ray Junior
In the semi-final, the girls played Fairways who they’d played three times before in the Southend tournament: in the group stage, super 10s and the final. With the semi-final match being 12 minutes one way, the game got underway and from the start it was clear it was going to be a tough game. Fairways managed to find a gap and work the ball around our defenders getting a shot at goal, fired the ball past our keeper giving them the lead. The girls kept their heads high and showed great determination pressing the ball. With over half the time gone, the girls got the ball into the opposition’s box and passed the keeper to bring the score to 1-1. Both teams showed strong defensive ability and, with the final whistle blown, the game finished 1-1. A penalty shootout would decide which team would go to the final. With three penalties to be taken before sudden death, both teams selected their players to take the penalties and a flip of a coin chose the order. West Leigh were up first. The penalty was taken and the keeper saved it. Fairways stepped up and the ball rebounded off the post. Both teams also then went on to score their second penalty. In the third penalty, both teams stepped forward and hit the back of the net. A fourth penalty was needed to decide the result. West Leigh stepped forward, hit the ball and just got it past the keeper. Fairways stepped forward, struck the ball over the top of the goal sending West Leigh into the final. The final result ended 3-2 on penalties.
In the final, the girls played Long Riding Primary. Both teams did a fantastic job to make the final and they knew it was going to be a tough game. The girls got off to a great start and went 1-0 up. They then continued to apply pressure, with Long Riding also applying more pressure, testing our defenders who worked tirelessly to try and prevented them from getting near the goal. Long Riding then equalised and demonstrated their ability by finding a way through our defenders, getting a few shots at goal and finding the back of the net. West Leigh then continued to try and find the counter-attack with a couple of shots towards the goal. The final whistle was blown with the result West Leigh 1-4 Long Riding Primary.
The girls did an unbelievable job of making it through to the final and becoming the second best team in Essex. They showed great sportsmanship and respect throughout the competition and were a real credit to the school. Everyone involved should feel very confident when approaching their upcoming league campaign.