Churchill Academy

U16 Footballers victorious!

Churchill Academy U16 Boys V Downlands Community School

Last 16 ESFA Premier League Schools Cup

Last Wednesday saw Churchill Academy's U16 Boys football team taking on Downlands Community School from Brighton, Sussex. The match was round 7 (last 16) of the ESFA Premier League Schools Cup.

The squad of sixteen boys has done brilliantly well to get this far in a competition that started with 528 schools taking part. Churchill playing at home were rightly expecting a tough fixture against unknown opponents that have won six knockout matches in a row to make it to this stage of the competition.

Right from the start it was a hard fought, fair but feisty tussle between two talented and hardworking sides. Churchill were first to score taking a 1-0 lead when Ollie Wynn slotted in at the near post after excellent build up play from Bertie Merrifield and Daniel Morris. The visiting team started to play with more confidence and were settling into the tempo of the game. Soon the team from the south east equalised and then scored again taking the score to 2-1 to the away side.  With only ten minutes left Churchill were on the back foot, chances were few and far between as Churchill earned themselves a corner. Rarely is one goal scored by two players but in this case two Churchill heads met the fine delivery from the corner. Toby Lawrence and Ben Wheeler rose higher than anyone else to power home a fine double header taking the scoreline to 2-2 and into extra time.

A watching crowd of over 200 students, teachers and parents started to assemble during the school lunch break realising the importance of the match. Extra time saw chances missed at both ends as a dreaded penalty shoot out neared.  As the full time whistle was blown the school boys knew that they were about to face the most important penalty shoot out of their young lives so far.  Churchill's brave five of Toby Lawrence, Harlow Searle, Bertie Merrifield, Ollie Wynn and Daniel Morris all stepped forward volunteering to take penalties as the home side won the toss electing to shoot first. The standard of penalties was outstanding as Churchill scored their first four penalties giving the opposition goalkeeper no chance at all. Unfortunately for the away team their star striker struck his penalty too close to home goal keeper, Joseph Poole, who saw his save turn the ball just past the post. Churchill midfield play-maker Daniel Morris knew if he scored then Churchill would be through to the last eight in the country. This he duly did, coolly slotting his penalty into the corner as the whole squad ran to the hero goal keeper to celebrate their brilliant victory.

Team coach and Head of PE, Mr J Hayne said after the match "Everyone at the school is incredibly proud of the whole squad. As a team they've trained hard, learned and improved so much since starting out in Year 7. To have reached the last eight in the country is a phenomenal achievement and we hope our successful run continues."

The next round to be played in the next two weeks sees Churchill drawn away to either a school from Leicestershire or Northants in the last eight in the country.

Good luck lads!

Mr J Doel, Team PE