ESFA Danone nations cup finals
The Under 11 football team made the journey to St Andrew’s stadium in Birmingham for the National Small Schools’ finals.
The competition saw the top eight teams from the regional rounds compete to be national champions.
NSB’s first group game against Newtown Primary from Shropshire got off to a good start in the first half when a quick throw found Folu E who then scored the team’s first goal of the competition. Newtown then hit back after a cross was turned in for an own goal. The game ended in a draw.
The boys’ second group game against Whitchurch Primary from Oxfordshire was a copy of the last. Quick thinking from goalkeeper Robbie B found Folu for an NSB opener. Again, the opponents hit back and the game ended in a draw.
All eventualities were in play heading into the last game. The opponent, English Martyrs from Sussex, had won their opening games. An end-to-end match saw chances for both teams with Robbie coming up with some great saves to keep NSB in the game and, with no goals from either side, an even result meant that the boys had to rely on the result of their next match.
As second place in their group, the NSB boys played the reigning champions Loyola Preparatory School from Essex. In a game where they had plenty of chances, again no breakthrough was found and at the end it came down to penalties. Loyola went up early but a save from Bowman brought NSB back in. When Loyola missed two goals, Robbie had a chance and, with a diving save, secured NSB a spot in the final.
The final saw the boys play English Martyrs again. They got off to a fantastic start when Folu found the net with a left-footed strike. Martyrs then came back with two quick goals to take the lead at half time. With the last kick of the game, James W sailed the ball into the top corner giving the keeper no chance. Extra time was required and, in a scramble in the box, the Martyrs’ captain squeezed the ball under the keeper. With only two minutes left, the NSB boys could not find an equaliser.
An understandably disappointed group of boys gave a fantastic account of themselves and the North of England. They showed resilience throughout the day and were a credit to the School.