Shenfield High School

U15 Girls National Cup Final

Squad: Sophie Clark, Mia Gray, Maizi Garwood, Sadie Kirrane, Leane Cato, Lucy Edmeades, Chloe Eastwell, Ellen Hoad, Sophie Nyiro, jaznial Bolton, Shannan Drewe, Emily Power, Shannon Debond, Sharon Maposa, Olivia Gibbons

Having dominated in the earlier rounds of the competition, Shenfields U15 female footballers this week turned their attention to a National Cup final at the Madejski Stadium, home of Reading FC. Arriving at the 26,000 seater stadium, the girls were in awe of the opportunity ahead, hugely anticipating stepping foot onto the pitch in front of all travelling supporters, including family, friends and the schools aspiring young footballers across years 7, 8 and 9.

Having started the game positively, Shenfiled took off to a dream start, scoring from a pre-planned set piece from Shannan Drewe and Chloe Eastwell, Chloe’s searching cross prodded home by Sophie Nyiro to take an early lead.With mounting pressure from opposition Thomas Telford, Shenfields girls worked incredibly hard, only succumbing to 30 yard strike into the top corner from Thomas Telford talented midfielder. Having conceded a goal, Shenfield battled valiantly to take the game into half time at 1-1.

Having been put to task at half time by Mr Rigg and Mr Hall, the response in the second half was both immediate and excellent, taking control of the game and creating an array of chances to take the lead, Chloe Eastwell coming close by hitting the crossbar form 25 Yards out. With Thomas Telford playing direct football into their lead goal scorer, Sophie Clark proved outstanding in goal, coming off her line several times to deal with over hit passes, while Maizi Garwood lived up to her reputation time and time again with tackles full of venom.

With just 15 minutes remaining and Shenfield  in the driving seat, a familiar feeling set in that shadowed the events of last year’s semi-final when out of nowhere the referee pointed to the spot on favour of a Thomas Telford penalty for handball. With both teams confused and dumfounded, along with coaches and commentators, Shenfield now found themselves with an uphill battle. Despite mounting an outstanding challenge for an equaliser, the challenge proved too little too late as Thomas Telford edged a 2-1 victory in a game they must certainly consider a gift. Despite the flow of tears from Shenfields passionate young ladies, Shenfields most successful girl’s football team ever proved their professional and upstanding character by applauding their opposition throughout the ceremony. In such a close game the only consolation proved to be recognition as the better team, firstly through the player of the match honour being awarded to Sophie Nyiro, who was in turn awarded a PS4 by England captain Steph Houghton. Not content with this gesture, England’s leader then proceeded to chase down captain Maizi Garwood in order to recognise her incredible performance and captaincy by awarding her with a pair of the national captains boots.

The reception toward the girls at the end of the game from coaches, peers and family alike proves how outstanding all players were on the day, with our national cup runners up making all involved incredibly proud as always.