HUCSF coaches Vicki Hutchinson and Chris Burton took the girls’ futsal team from Northfield School to represent Hartlepool United in the Kinder + Sport Futsal Cup Grand Finals.
The team were already successful in the area and regional rounds, beating Bradford City 3-1 in the regional final to book a place in the National Finals at the Derby Arena.
The team, consisting of captain Eleanor Dale, Sorrell Gresham, Louise Atkinson, Brooke Slater, Beth Shaw, Megan Shaw, Beth Coleman, Rebecca Blick, Amy Grey and Alex Bredon, along with teacher Mr Burge, were drawn in a group of four with Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield United and Tranmere Rovers.
The format of the day was group games whereby every team plays every other team in their group once, before the top two commence through to the semi-finals to play the top two teams from the other group.
First up Pools faced last year’s winners, Blackburn Rovers. It was a tight affair with few chances, but Sorrell Gresham gave Pools the lead before Eleanor Dale doubled it to 2-0. Blackburn scored late, but Pools hung on to clinch three points in the opening fixture.
Next up was Pools v Tranmere Rovers and confidence began to show. The girls played much more relaxed and flowing futsal, winning 5-1 with goals from Sorrell Gresham, Louise Atkinson and Eleanor Dale (3).
The final group game saw the girls face Sheffield United and the goals continued to flow as Pools ran out 6-1 winners. Goals from Brooke Slater, Sorrell Gresham (2) and Eleanor Dale (3) saw Pools top the group, setting up a semi-final against Group B runners-up, Swindon Town.
The semi-final concluded similarly to the final two group games, with Pools running out 4-1 winners with goals from Sorrell Gresham, Louise Atkinson and Eleanor Dale (2).
Only two teams remained to battle it out to be Kinder + Sport Futsal Cup National Champions; Hartlepool United and Crawley Town.
Both teams had won all of their games, scoring and conceding the same number of goals during their group games. It was destined to be a tight affair, and nerves were showing in the opening minutes of the final.
Pools took the lead through Eleanor Dale after five minutes, which appeared to settle the girls as Sorrell quickly doubled the lead. Crawley were not letting the trophy go that easily and responded with a quick goal.
Pools suffered another blow when Louise Atkinson sprained her ankle and was forced off for the remainder of the game.
The score was 2-1 going into the last minute of the game but Pools capped it off with a last-minute goal from Eleanor who scored her second of the game to ensure Hartlepool United were crowned winners of the Kinder + Sport Futsal Cup!
In a further boost for Pools on the day, Eleanor Dale picked up the trophy for Top Scorer of the competition.
The girls were a credit to both their school and the Club and hopefully will be back again next year to defend their title.
Also special mention must go to H’Angus who came along to support the girls and also won the Mascot Penalty Shoot-Out, going one better than his second place finish last year.