Saturday 2nd February, SEESFA Essex Cup South Section
On an extremely cold Saturday night on the south coast of England, the Middlesex Schools’ FA’s U14 girls Representative Team played their final group game against Sussex, knowing a win would guarantee them a place in the semi-finals of the South England Schools’ FA competition.
Middlesex started the game brightly, testing the Sussex goalkeeper in the opening two minutes and seeing a fantastic flowing move end with a shot flashing just the wrong side of the far post. Sussex nearly made Middlesex pay for their missed chances in the tenth minute, but Liana Sideras managed to pull off an acrobatic save to tip the shot over the bar and keep the scoresheet blank.
That scare seemed to be the spark Middlesex needed as they then went on a fifteen-minute rampage. First, Middlesex’s captain, Caitlin Star, played a perfectly weighted through ball that Shakira Kafero-Roberts emphatically finished at the near post. Then, the provider twice turned goal scorer. Star was in the right place at the right time to put away an awkward rebound and again showed great composure to control a cross eight yards out before placing the ball in the top of the net for her second goal and Middlesex’s third of the game.
Just as Middlesex seemed to be cruising to a comfortable half time lead, Sussex scored a well-placed shot from the edge of the box to set up a keenly contested second half.
Middlesex had to weather a storm from Sussex as the hosts sought to get back into the match. However, the back three of Noelani Ageyman, Caitlin Finnerty and Mae Rush remained composed and assured, which spread confidence to the rest of the Middlesex team.
In the second half, Middlesex regained control of the game and again missed a couple of early chances that the Sussex keeper did extremely well to save and keep her team in the game.
Midway through the second half, Lallini Ines Salpadoru put the game to bed however, whipping in a fiercely driven corner that eluded everyone to sneak in at the near post. Middlesex calmly saw out the remainder of the half, keeping possession of the ball without creating many more opportunities, but just as importantly, without allowing Sussex to create any more chances to get back in the game.
Manager Adem Ali commented: “This was a perfect performance from start to finish. The girls played some truly scintillating stuff and we look forward to the semi-final. We are all extremely proud of the girls and what they are achieving”.
Team: Noelani Ageyman, Macey Bannerman-Lloyd, Margot Farnes, Caitlin Finnerty, Naomi Rawding, Shakira Kafero Roberts, Mae Rush, Liana Sideras, Caitlin Boodram Star, Susan Uwaifo, Megan Peters Weise, Harriet Stiles-Winfield, Ellie Gilbride, Evie Underhill, Lallini Ines Salpadoru.