PUBLISHED 23 June 2022
AKS U13 Girls football squad followed in the footsteps of many great elite footballers as they qualified for the ISFA National football finals held at St George’s Park, Burton, home to the England men’s, women’s and youth national football teams.
Having qualified as runners-up in the North regional qualifiers on goal difference to Cheadle Hulme, AKS remained unbeaten throughout, winning 4 and drawing 1, the latter of which was against Cheadle in a showdown for the title.
Last week, in the glorious surroundings of St George’s Park and temperatures reaching 25 degrees, our girls were treated to an amazing surprise as the England ladies national team were preparing for their game later that evening against Belgium.
Millie Bright of Chelsea and her teammates, happily gave our girls further motivation by posing for photographs with our squad and having some nice words of encouragement for the day that lay ahead.
With 12 schools including ourselves qualifying from around the country, AKS were placed in a group with 2 favourites for the title in Repton and Surbiton, both schools with a great reputation within the ISFA programme.
In their first game against Ardingley, AKS looked tentative but soon found they were able to match their opponents and started to play some good football, creating chances that weren’t converted. As the team pressed, Ardingley took the lead against the run of play and took the victory. With games 6mins each way, it was going to be a tough day.
In their second game vs Belmont Mill Hill, AKS were fired up and came out all guns blazing, looking to use the pace of Daniels and Williams on the wings, numerous chances were created and narrowly missed. As the team pushed fwd, an unfortunate slip at the back allowed Belmont in on goal and they went 1.0up. Not to be deterred, Asquith and Slawson got the team moving again and with lots of pressure it was Daniels who equalised latching onto a cross at the back post. 1.1 at HT, the team pressed on and another cross to the far post saw Williams slot the ball home and a deserved 2.1 victory.
With the heat of the day getting hotter, AKS faced the first of their toughest group games vs Repton. With their tails up after their victory, AKS frustrated Repton and matched their opponents creating their own opportunities to take the lead.
0.0 at HT, it was AKS who looked the most likely to score and within minutes of the re-start, a great move created an opportunity that was saved by the keeper from a Milligan shot.
Repton were now spurred on and with some extensive pressure scored 2 quick goals to take a 2.0 victory. It would be Repton and Surbiton that made it through the group stages both unbeaten.
In their 4th & 5th ganes respectively, AKS had given it their all and lost the final 2 games to Farringtons and Surbiton High.
With the travelling support of the girls parents, it was a great experience for all, for our girls to get to this stage of the competition and to have the experience of visiting St George’s Park and meeting England internationals, we hope that this memory will last throughout their time at AKS and beyond.
I look forward to seeing the girls move forward with the football programme at AKS, after successive qualifications in past 2 years to the National finals (last year cancelled due to COVID). There is a definite buzz about that and we look forward to building on it in the future.
In past 6 years, AKS have been represented at the National finals days, twice with our U11 Girls squad and what would have been twice by our U13 Girls.
A massive achievement for everyone involved.