HUCSF bring us a summary of Northfield School's progression in the Kinder + Sport Competition.
Through our coaching to promote women and girls football with the FFD programme, HUCSF has been coaching some girls at Northfield School. Through the sessions, the U13 girls were encouraged to select a team for our local Kinder + Sport Girl’s Cup competition and they went on to win the Area Final. HUCSF coaches Vicki Hutchinson and Chris Burton prepared the girls for the Area Final training one lunch time a week and they are now continuing this in the hope of reaching the grand final at Wembley.
The area finals were held at Leeds Futsal Arena on the 15th January. Here, the Northfield girls who were now representing Hartlepool United were joined by 8 other Northern clubs. The 9 teams were split into two groups and Hartlepool were joined in group 1 by Oldham, Barnsley, York and Scunthorpe. Each game was be 6 a-side and lasted for ten minutes before the top two teams from each group progressed through to the semi-finals.
The first game saw the girls up against Oldham. With goals from Eleanor Dale and Brooke Slater the girls came out 2-0 winners in the opening fixture.
The second match saw Hartlepool face Barnsley; both teams had won their first match comfortably so the girls knew this would be a tough test. Despite a number of chances Hartlepool were unable to beat the strong Barnsley goalkeeper and the match finished 0-0.
After a short break it was Hartlepool v Scunthorpe. After a few coaching pointers the girls entered the field and soon the goals were flying in. The score finished 6-0 with Eleanor Dale grabbing a hat-trick and goals from Megan Shaw, Brooke Slater and Sorrell Gresham.
With confidence high, Hartlepool went into the final group game against York knowing they had already qualified but were keen to top the group so went out looking for the win. Goals from Eleanor Dale, Sorrell Gresham and Megan Bryson eased the girls through into the semi-finals with a 3-0 victory.
After finishing second in their group Rochdale found themselves up against group winners Hartlepool United in the semi-final. The game was tight and Hartlepool could not find the net and good saves from Sarah Thompson in the Hartlepool goal kept the game all square. With only minutes to go Eleanor Dale drove the ball towards the Rochdale goal only for the defender to handball it on the line, but the referee missed it!
Justice was served however when Brooke Slater struck a fantastic shot from the half-way line to put Hartlepool into the final with only seconds to go.
The final saw a North-East derby; Hartlepool vs Middlesbrough. Middlesbrough took the lead through a fantastic left-footed free kick. Hartlepool did not let their heads drop and equalised through Brooke Slater with five minutes to go. Middlesbrough would not give in and scored another screamer into the top corner to go 2-1 with 3 minutes to go. A final push from Hartlepool and some quick-worked set pieces saw Player of the Tournament Brooke Slater equalise with only moments to go.
Despite hitting the post three times Hartlepool were unable to get a winner in extra time and penalties were looming. A tactical change saw Brooke Slater, also a confident goalkeeper, take the gloves just before the final whistle in order to face the opposition in the shoot-out. The shoot-out was tense but Hartlepool edged it with goals from Megan Shaw, Sorrell Gresham and Ashton Shah.
The next round will see the girls face the other Northern area champions at Barnsley in the Regional Finals. Should the girls top this group of 4 when the round is played on February 13th they will go take Hartlepool United all the way to Wembley for the National Final!
A huge well done to the girls and their PE teacher Mr Burge for their fantastic achievements in the competition so far; we look forward to the next round.