Ashfield School 4 – 2 The Oxford Academy
Ashfield goal scorers: Tyreace Palmer, Sam Geeves, Dylan Spencer, Brandon Keeling
After a heroic display in the English Schools National Cup Final at Derby County, Ashfield School’s Year 9 football team were deservedly crowned National Champions!
The game itself started with some very early pressure from The Oxford Academy, who showed some excellent technical ability (to be expected considering their team included 2 England internationals!). However, as the Ashfield boys have done all year, they showed they were prepared to put their bodies on the line defensively and then attack with real pace when they could.
The first goal in the game was scored by Ashfield as Leighton Platts received a pass from the hardworking Hodgson before delivering an inch-perfect cross that was headed home by Tyreace Palmer. This was then cancelled out late in the first half following an excellent piece of play from the Oxford boys that led to their captain equalising to take the game into half time at 1-1. During half time, our lads were reassured that they were more than capable of winning the game and, sure enough, they came out with more belief in the second half and certainly stepped up their game! Ellis Jackson continued to produce more excellent saves to back up the fearless defending from Ashfield’s Robinson, Else, Little and Sloan. It was then another great ball played in behind the Oxford defence that again found Platts and led to the second goal. Platts used his blistering pace to drive into the box but he was deemed to have been pulled back by an Oxford defender and a penalty was awarded. It was the job of Captain Sam Geeves to take the penalty and, just as he did in the semi-final shootout, he slotted the penalty home with confidence before celebrating in style in front of the excellent Ashfield support. Geeves’ penalty was followed up 2 minutes later by another typical Ashfield break. After being released once more on the right, Platts delivered a carbon copy of his cross for the first goal, but this time it was substitute Dylan Spencer who slid in to finish clinically and put Ashfield 3-1 up. With just under 10 minutes to , Ashfield killed the game off following a defence-splitting pass from James Sloan, which Brandon Keeling chased down and hit first time to beat the onrushing Oxford goalkeeper. This 4th goal sparked huge celebrations from the players and supporters as the lads had one hand on the trophy. Oxford scored a late conciliation goal but that didn’t matter as the final whistle went and, as they say, the rest was history.
The team were presented with the trophy by Everton midfielder Tom Davies, and were then invited up to the Players’ Lounge in the stadium for a celebratory meal which was a fitting end to the day. It was an absolutely fantastic day; to be crowned National Champions is a truly great achievement and something I am sure the lads will never forget, I know I certainly won’t!