Year 8 Football - Oliver copes with the pressure to land English Schools’ Cup…

On Tuesday 16th May, our U13B team travelled to Pride Park home of Derby County to contest the English Schools' Cup Final against Kingsdale School, London. With the backing of a vociferous following of Year 8 pupils and our loyal parental supporters, Walkden began brightly with Liam Spinks firing just over in the opening minutes. In an extremely tight encounter, chances were few and far between as the half wore on with both defences on top for large portions of the game. Robert Stanger looked dangerous on the counter attack whilst Luke Tinsley tried his luck from range but couldn’t find the target. Bradley Woods made a crucial stop towards the end of the half when one on one with the Kingsdale frontline as the teams went into the break locked at 0-0. As the rain began to fall, the second half followed a similar pattern with Walkden enjoying good spells of possession and Kingsdale looking to break on the counter.

Denzel Narcsio and Dominic Eastwood worked tirelessly on the flanks as Walkden’s best work came from the full backs. A pair of second half substitutions breathed new life into the Walkden line up, and Paul Viller thought he had sprung the offside trap only for the linesman’s flag to rule out his effort. With time running out, and Walkden feeling the effects of the Pride Park pitch, Kingsdle sensed their chance. With their striker through on goal, hearts were in mouths, but MOM Jack Hebden kept his cool to save Walkden with a goal line clearance. With what proved to be the last kick of the game, the tie would be decided on penalties.

Kingsdale chose to go first but blazed over the bar to give Walkden the initiative. Sam Edge made it 1-0, before Oliver Byrne, Louis Quinn and Ben Anderton all kept their cool to give Walkden a 4-3 advantage with one penalty remaining. Substitute goalkeeper Oliver Cope was faced with the Kingsdale winger and produced a wonderful diving save to keep the fifth penalty out and spark mass celebration. Cope was engulfed by a sea of white and black shirts as the achievement began to sink in. To their credit, all the Walkden boys showed wonderful sportsmanship by offering their hand to the defeated Kingsdale squad. With the post-match interviews completed, the trophy was presented to the boys by Peter Crouch, and as Louis Quinn lifted it high above his head, Walkden High School were English Schools’ Champions. Well done to every member of the squad on such an amazing achievement. Thanks to all the parents for their support throughout the year, here’s to the 2017/18 season and being defending champions.

Squad: Bradley Woods, Oliver Cope, Denzel Narciso, Dominic Eastwood, Jack Hebden, Ben Anderton, Nathan Ranicar, Luke Tinsley, Louis Quinn, Oliver Gaskill, Robert Stanger, Liam Spinks, Paul Viller, Sam Edge, Oliver Byrne, Jake Bushby.

Mr A Tobutt


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