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Girls Cup report: Liv Thorpe – Thistley Hough High School

1 December 2022

On a cold and wet Thursday morning in Stoke, eight students from Thistley Hough Academy took part in a girls football tournament held at Port Vale FC.

Port Vale held the tournament in a league format giving each team the opportunity to play each other throughout the day in seven-minute games. The rules were clear from the start due to EFL ruling for the tournament that was being ran – these included players other than the goalkeeper not being allowed in the vast goalkeepers box.

Thistley Hough’s first opponents were Birches Head. The game started positively, with some fantastic defending. However, the opposition pressed well and with good attacking play, it resulted in a goal. Thistley Hough kept pressing at the Birches Head defence without any success and kept out a pressing Birches Head attack. First loss of the tournament, 1-0 to Birches Head.

Following their first loss, team manager Mrs Baldwin said “When you get the ball there’s two things that you need to think of. Firstly, how can I keep possession? And secondly, how can I play forward?” This was effective during a 0-0 result against Haywood A. Thistley Hough showed excellent determination, team-work and clever play with plenty of shots on goal.

After some discussions amongst teachers, referees and the Port Vale staff, the rules were changed to include corners and allow all players in the box due to the box being bigger than regulation size.

Game 3 ended in another loss for Thistley Hough Academy’s U13 team, they faced a strong Excel side that had great talent in all areas of the squad. Excel went on the attack instantly, but with some string defensive work from Thistley, they went on the counter and scored a great goal by Isabelle Clewlow. Excel kicked off and were determined to equalise, which they did shortly after. Soon after, with some wonderful teamwork from Excel, they went 2-1 up. It seemed that Thistley then lost their rhythm and Excel went on to get another goal.

During the fourth game, Thistley Hough faced The King’s. After Mrs Baldwin’s last team talk, the girls had a quick start with an early shot from our striker. However, the oppositions keeper made a fantastic save and denied Thistley an early lead in the game. Thistley continued to press forward and work as a team, Maddie Burgess crossed the ball in for a Pixie Allport-Vyse shot just off target. The girls finished goalless.

Next up was Thistley Hough vs Weston Road. After just 50 seconds, Weston Road had made a great attack towards goal and made it 1-0. Thistley were determined to equalise and with some encouragement from Mrs Baldwin on the side lines, Thistley scored the equaliser. Weston road then came back with some sharp, one touch passing which resulted in another goal. Soon after Weston Road found themselves in front of goal again which their striker was able to finish. Thistley continued to make some good blocks including a great save by the keeper however they couldn’t do enough to keep the fourth goal out of the back of the net. Unfortunately, Thistley Hough ran out of time to change the score line and the game finished 4-1 to Weston Road.

Thistley’s sixth game was against Haywood B. During this game, the girls got off to a great start with some great ball control and skills being shown. We quickly started to gain confidence and within the first minute we had scored a goal which was well worked by the team. The girls stayed positive and continued to communicate with each other which resulted in another goal by Thistley. Maddie Burgess was on fire. Minutes later we had our third and fourth goal, all scored by Maddie Burgess. The final whistle blew, and the game ended 4-0 to Thistley.

Next, Thistley played Christ Church where they continued to grow as a team and the confidence was shown through the performance. It was a quick start by Thistley with some great passing between Isabelle Clewlow and Maddie Burgess. Mrs Baldwin made sure the girls were communicating and working well as a team which equally resulted in a great goal by Thistley’s, Maddie Burgess. The girls continued to defend well against Christ Church which allowed us to come away with a clean sheet. The game finished 1-0 to Thistley.

Thistley’s final game was against Churnet View. Again, it was a quick start from Thistley with some lovely build up play from defence to our striker who manged to get the ball in the back of the opposition’s net. However, Churnet View seemed determined to equalise and they started to build their confidence through a small section of possession. Churnet view equalised with about 4 minutes to go. They continued with some great play and started to get into a rhythm. It was now 2-1 to Churnet View and Thistley Hough were not on form. In the last minute Churnet View managed to slip one more past Thistley’s keeper who unfortunately couldn’t make the save.

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