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Champions: Passmores Academy Girls win

Education: Secondary / Fri 20th Apr 2018 at 09:29am

Passmores Academy U14 Girls Win Essex Cup in 5-2 Victory

Report by Russell King

PASSMORES U-14 girls capped their amazing run to the final of this year’s Essex Cup in the best possible way: by bringing home the silverware. Making their debut in the final against a seasoned Eastwood team, the girls knew that the challenge would be intense. But, showing the self-belief and self-sacrificing teamwork that has got them this far, they managed their ultimate test.

Passmores Girls 2

Passmores Girls

A tight first half saw Passmores, playing an unseasonal Christmas-Tree formation, steal an early lead against the run of play, with a long-range lob by Lauren Clenshaw. The versatile Connie Robinson then replaced Lauren in the challenging solo-striker position, which demonstrates the impact of the weather on players. Lydia House, more used to hockey, used her positional reading of the game as a fulcrum of the team, to help Passmores switch from defence to attack as the game was to move on.

The early lead did not hold, however, and a period of pressure from Eastwood saw them equalise just before half-time.

In the second half stalwart centre-back Grace Evans, who had put a great shift in, came off and Sasha Rae Newman was introduced to the team, causing a reshuffle of the formation. Passmores soaked up early pressure in what was becoming a committed encounter, before gaining a free-kick just inside the half-way line. Amazingly, Charis Howell blasted an exocet of a shot into the top left corner from this distance, sparking memories of Nayim’s feted strike in the Cup Winners’ Cup many years ago. All Passmores needed to do now was to hold on for the victory.

However, holding on was not in the plot: a sharp Eastwood break was intercepted by a heroic defensive display from Nicole Smith, which stopped a certain goal. Nicole injured herself in this action, meaning that Grace Evans dug deep to plug the gap, by returning to the action. Lauren Clenshaw had also been restored to the team under the rolling subs rule, by this point.

A flowing move started by Rosie Parnell down the left channel, and supported by Maisie Brookwell, allowed some neat 1-2 play before a devastating cross to Gracie Doye saw her strike first-time into the bottom left corner of the opposition net. Then another team goal saw the ball go from end to end, with Lauren Clenshaw nutmegging a central defender before striking the ball like a bullet past the goalkeeper.

Eastwood continued to play well, with their wingers swapping flanks to try to penetrate the Passmores defence but full-backs Ellie Barnard and Ellie Callaghan soaked up the pressure. Jess Ascott also was super sharp in denying the opposition at key times during the encounter,

The girls were still not finished, however, and slick combination work between Lauren, Charis and Gracie saw Gracie grab her second, running through three defenders. Eastwood spared blushes with a second but it was to be Passmores’ day.

Coach and Assistant Principal Rebecca Conway enthused about her team: “I knew the opposition were very good, as they were reigning champions, but I also knew that half of the battle was believing that you are good enough to beat the opposition. Our team did not doubt themselves and they stuck to the game plan. This proves not only that hard work pays off but also that individuals don’t win trophies – teams do. I couldn’t be any prouder”

The girls will now attend the Women’s FA cup final as a thank you for their amazing efforts.

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