Record-Breaking Football Success: Match Reports
The Under 15 and Under 16 boys football teams broke a century-old record by winning both English Schools Finals in the same year. The Academy is the first school in 109 years to 'do the double', a truly fantastic achievement.
Why not have a read of the full match reports here...
U15 English Schools National Football Final
24th May 2010
Bristol City Stadium
The Harefield Academy 4 - Lancaster School 3
The team left on Sunday afternoon for Bristol where they had a meal, ironed their shirts and had an early night in preparation for the big final. The team was up early eating a healthy breakfast and given a team talk by the coaching staff. At this point it was off to the ground and the excitement was increasing.
It was one of the hottest days of the year so the sprinklers were on the pitch and the team was staying hydrated. The pitch at Bristol City’s ground was in excellent condition and after a warm up we were ready to play.
From the start of the match it was clear that it was going to be close with both teams creating chances. Lancaster had a talented goal keeper who had a long kick that created chances for them. Once settled Harefield started to move the ball well and Kamaron English showed how in form he is on wing, regularly beating opponents and crossing the ball into the box.
Bernard Mensah scored the first goal with a fantastic low volley from just inside the area, making the score 1-0 to Harefield. Lancaster scored an exact replica of Harefield’s goal late on in the first half to make the score 1 each.
At half time the score was still a very close 1 – 1, and the team had some changes to make in order to deal with the long ball tactic that Lancaster were using. George Davey came on at the half for Beau Amos and made an impact from the moment he came on the pitch, making strong tackles and staying composed under pressure. Harefield came out from the half with real focus and determination, passing the ball with purpose and creating many chances.
A long throw from George Davey was flicked on by Afolabi Obafemi into the path of Bernard Mensah who took the ball in his stride, opened his body up and curled a fantastic shot into the top left corner of the Lancaster goal.
Keshi Anderson had a shot that whistled by the posts of the goal and, with the momentum going our way, it was not long before Afolabi Obafemi hit the target for Harefield’s third goal, with a well placed low shot going in off the left post of Lancaster’s goal.
Harefield were caught off guard with another long kick and Lancaster broke our defence to score their second goal, with a well placed header. The heat was getting to the players and time was taken on every substitution to take on fluids and deal with the cramps that players were getting. Lancaster scored a dramatic goal to take the score to 3 -3 and to take the match into extra time.
The teams gathered together, took on more water and an energy snack. The team talks were brief and focused.
After 10 minutes there was no real progress; both teams were putting their heart and soul into the match. The players were injured, exhausted and cramping up all the time. It was only in the second half of extra time that Harefield won the match. With a surging attack that resulted in three corners Lancaster could not keep the ball away from their goal mouth. They thought they had cleared the ball, but only to Kamaron English who whipped in a dangerous low cross from the left wing, defenders did not deal with it, the keeper was unsure and on time at the back post Jordan Bholo was there to place it in the net.
It was a fantastic match and everything that a final should be; Lancaster played very well and with excellent spirit. We are very proud of the U15 team and all the effort, hard work and determination that they showed throughout the season. Well done!
The Harefield Academy are the U15 English Schools National Champions!
ESFA English Schools U16’s Cup Final
The Harefield Academy 4 - Manchester Grammar 1
On Monday 10th May, the Year 11 squad headed off the evening before the game on the long journey to Oldham. We arrived at the hotel, where the students and staff enjoyed a meal and relaxation time to settle the nerves for the following day.
Students and staff woke up early and went for a very nutritional energy providing breakfast. After breakfast Mr Gibbons, Mr Cox, Miss Cottis and Mr Littlewood gave the squad the last major details for the game, the tactics for set pieces and we were reminded just how much this meant across England.
Brandon Horner led the team out onto the pitch for the pre match introductions and shake of hands. At 11.30am the match kicked off, The Harefield Academy playing in a black and white kit with Manchester Grammar playing in a navy blue kit.
The Academy students started the first 10 minutes of the game a little nervously, with a few missed tackles and misjudged passes presenting Manchester with a few chances on goal. Manchester failed to capitalise on any of these chances and with approximately 14 minutes on the clock, Mani O’Sullivan collected the ball on the right wing and completed an amazing run. Dribbling the ball around four opposing players, with only the goalkeeper to beat, he played the ball to Michael Kalu, who finished the goal from 12 yards out. 1 – 0 to The Harefield Academy.
The goal seemed to settle the nerves of all the THA players, who then really started to play top class football, passing and moving like a professional team.
Just five minutes after the first goal, Frankie Sutherland picked the ball up just outside the top right corner of the opposition's penalty area and, with a sudden turn of pace, knocked the ball past the defender, who then tripped Frankie on his way past and the referee with no doubt awarded the penalty. Frankie picked himself up from the foul, to collect the ball and take the penalty himself.
Taking his time placing the ball, with the crowd making a lot of noise to put him off, and with a cool short run up, Frankie calmly places the ball into the corner of the goal, sending the keeper the wrong way and making the score 2 – 0.
The chances for THA started to come thick and fast, with them basically camped in the Manchester half. The domination finally paid off as Trey Horne was played through with a defence cutting pass from the midfield. Trey took one touch to control the ball and his next touch was placing the ball in the back of the net to make the score 3 – 0.
Manchester Grammar were stunned and unsure what to do at this point. With only 10 minutes left of the first half, Manchester Grammar were given a life line back into the game when Aaron Tumwa fouled the striker in the penalty box to give them a penalty. The Manchester player stepped up to take the penalty and very confidently finished a well taken spot kick.
The second half kicked off and Manchester Grammar had a new lease of life, feeling there was a way back into this final. For the first 25 minutes of the second half Manchester were all over Harefield and created several chances.
Jack Bonham, The Harefield Academy goal keeper was pulled into action on several occasions, pulling off some amazing point blank saves and dealing with everything that was thrown at him.
Slowly Manchester Grammar seemed to be running out of steam and THA began to get the ball more and more. Chances started to appear at the Manchester end. Gaps started to appear within the Manchester defence.
Then with five minutes left of normal time Mani O’Sullivan, who had a fantastic game was put through by a defence splitting pass; he gathered the ball in, took a couple of chances and with a clinical finish placed the ball around the Manchester keeper into the bottom right corner of the goal, to make the score 4 – 1 to The Harefield Academy and award them the title of ‘ESFA English Schools U16’s Champions 2010’.
The game was played in such a professional and respectful manner by both teams, but unfortunately there could be only one winner and on the day, The Harefield Academy were just too strong for Manchester Grammar.