Following this first season for girl footballers in Wolverhampton having the opportunity to represent their schools and their city, it was fantastic for our Under 12 girls to reach the National Plate Final, held at Worcester City FC on Sunday 19th June.
Wolverhampton have run girl’s teams for the first time ever at Under 12 and Under 14 and have ensured that we were represented at the Under 11 age group over the past season too.
We are pleased, with the support of our schools, players, parents and the CpnnectEd partnership that we have continued to be able to provide schoolchildren, both boys and girls, from ages 10-14 representative football.
In well over one hundred years of existence, Wolverhampton Schools FA boys team reached the final in 1931 losing to Islington Schools. This games was played in front of thousands of spectators at Arsenal’s Highbury Stadium. It took another 90 years until last season our Under 11 boys, having beaten the schools’ ‘super-powers’, Manchester and Liverpool on route, made the final but lost out to a strong Lewisham team 2-4 in a final played at Telford United. So now it was the time for the girls from Wolverhampton to see if we could make it third time lucky.
Liverpool Schools FA, one of our opponents in the prelimary rounds of the ESFA Champions Cup,went on the win the Premier competition but the first ever Plate Final gave us an opportunity to create history and it certainly felt like a prestigious final for our girls. What a memorable experience playing in such a great stadium, with its immaculate artificial playing surface, an excited and noisy crowd of parents, extended family, and friends, from Yorkshire and the Midlands, and with the game being recorded live by 247 tv. (https://www.247.tv/gaa/247)
The preparation had been very good for Wolverhampton girls, led by Team Manager, Scott Homfray and assisted by Gavin Nisbett and Kyle Hunt, with friendly games and training leading up to the big day.
Everyone at the Sixways Stadium was excited about the prospect of the game and that was evident from the point of arrival. The Barnsley girls, staff and parents had travelled the night before the game on a coach and had stayed in the area overnight, all sponsored by local businesses - along with their matching red, BSFA, ties and tracksuit tops. It was great to witness their excitement on arrival at the stadium.
The Wolverhampton girls travelled on the day, the journey to Worcester being just under an hour. Each of the girls had travelled with a varying number of family and friends independently and looked smart in their black leggings and WSFA tops.
Wolverhampton started more nervously, and the Barnsley girls made the better start to the game and created problems for the our more hesitant girls. There were a couple of half chances for Barnsley before they took the lead after just 5 minutes. A determined run down the left created an easy chance for the Barnsley centre forward to score from close range.
Wolverhampton grew into the game but went in at half time 0-1 down with the best opportunity to equalise coming from a Sareet Binning free kick. The free kick was a long way out from goal and it was saved by the Barnsley keeper.
HALF TIME: BARNSLEY 1 WOLVERHAMPTON 0
Team Manager, Scott Homfray changed the Wolverhampton formation in the second half and this helped get more possession in the Barnsley half. First half central defender, Sareet Binning was pushed into the midfield, increasing our number of players there, and it paid off after just 7 minutes.
A long clearance from Zara Patel, was helped on by Gurkeerat Nijjar, and a powerful run from Sareet Binning saw her go clear of the Barnsley defence to score confidently in a 1v1 situation with the GK. It never looked like she would miss, and Wolverhampton were now level and there was a feeling that the game could go either way.
The game became more evenly contested and the Wolverhampton were working hard to try and create a chance to get the second goal.
Barnsley had reached the final following a 7-0 win against Swansea. Wolverhampton had qualified after a 2-1 victory against Poole and East Dorset Schools FA, and over the course of this game it was always Barnsley who had more attempts on goal, and so perhaps the odds were always in their favour.
With just 10 minutes remaining a shot following a Barnsley corner deceived Avneet Kaur in the Wolverhampton goal and the ball crept in to give them the lead
Despite the efforts of the girls on both teams there were no further goals
FULL TIME: BARNSLEY SFA 2 WOLVERHAMPTON 1
AVNEET GOSAL KAUR (HIGHFIELDS)
HANIA BLICHARSKI (COPPICE)
SCARLETT THOMPSON (MOSELEY PARK)
LAYLA-MAE PARKER (COPPICE)
SAREET BINNING (THE ROYAL, WOLVERHAMPTON)
LACEY GLEED (WEDNESFIELD HIGH)
KIARA NISBETT (OUR LADY & ST CHADS)
KEIRA HOMFRAY (OUR LADY & ST CHADS)
GURKEERAT NIJJAR KAUR (WOLVERHAMPTON GIRLS HIGH)
PORTIA THOMAS (HIGHFIELDS)
ZARA PATEL (WOLVERHAMPTON GRAMMAR)
DEMI ADLETOGUN (MOSELEY PARK)
TE’A GRIFFITHS (SOUTH WOLVERHAMPTON & BILSTON)
KAMHEAH HAMILTON BROWN (OUR LADY & ST CHADS)