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Under 9 Girls' Football v St Paul's

Year 4 girls give new kit a dream debut!

Holy Family 3 St Paul's 0

On a rare day of calm almost Spring-like weather, the Year 4 girls once again highlighted their immense all-round talent. In between displaying sparkling thespian skills on the stage in the dress rehearsal and the opening night of 'Cinderella and Rockerfeller, they quickly changed into the new school football kit for a friendly game against our local neighbours St Paul's. With so much enthusiasm for football in Year 4 we had a large squad of eager players and that meant even our bench looked strong...and they certainly sounded strong as they cheered on their team mates from the sidelines. No worries with voice projection there, I can see why the production is so good. Anyway, back to the football. We lined up in a continental-style 2 at the back with a diamond in front of that - very reminiscent of Barcelona at their most cavalier and we started like the classy Catalans - on the front foot, the ball zipping around quickly...albeit it most of the early 'zipping' tended to head towards the fence.

However, these girls are certainly fast learners and very soon we had re-aligned our sights and were more regularly heading for the St Paul's goal. Eight minutes into the game we created our first clear chance as Joey burst through the defence and found herself 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper. She took aim then unfortunately hooked the ball wide. "Between the posts next time" were the quiet words of encouragement. I knew that would do the trick...they're fast learners these girls. With Philippa sweeping at the back like a miniature Rio Ferdinand, Ellie proving a dynamo in midfield, Monique laughing her way through the game and Sophia off the bench like a whirlwind, we really began to dominate posession and territory. It was only a matter of time...Barcelona will score sooner or later...and so it proved here as Joey again dribbled clear of the defence and this time slotted it past the goalkeeper, between the posts and into the goal. 1-0 to Holy Family. Fast learners indeed.

The squad rotation was working a treat and the half time team talk centred on keeping the concentration and energy levels high. Everyone was upbeat and confident. Sophie, Emily, Saskia, Erika and Ella had all contributed to the half time lead and Alex had looked assured in goal on the rare occasions she was called upon. As we prepared to kick off the second half, Monique was still laughing...the omens were good.

Straight from the kick off we launched another raid on the St Paul's goal and only some desperate last ditch defence kept us out. We then took up camp in the St Paul's half of the pitch - Philippa had pushed up to the half way line to help pen the opposition in, we had a surprisingly good shape (on occasions!) to our team - we could have been in the Nou Camp...and then I saw our resident deer having a little wander amongst the trees behind the fence. I don't suppose Pep Guardiola ever had his concentration broken by the Barcelona Bambi. Another attack into the St Paul's box soon followed, the ball bobbled off a defender and ricocheted into the path of Ellie who smashed it first time into the goal - an impressive finish, 2-0 to Holy Family. On the touchline, one of the girls then asked me "Are we winning?" 'Hmm, perhaps I need to do a little work on the scoring system in football' was the thought running through my head then we broke away again and almost scored a third. Alex then pulled off a great diving save and followed this up with a dash off her line to block a shot destined for our goal. The applause rang out on the touchline and I launched another wave of tactical substitutions as we employed our clever squad rotation sytem again. By this stage our strategic diamond had become a cross between a sort of squashed circle and something you might see at Twickenham, but this strategy clearly bamboozled our opposition as Joey once again raced free to score our third goal. Experts analysing it on Sky would have described it as a tactical master stroke...that will do for me.

With Joey and Ellie withdrawn for the final few minutes, we continued to play hard and fully deserved our 3-0 victory. It was a fantastic team performance and it was so refreshing to see so many smiling faces and hear so much excitement and laughter out on the field. All we needed was some Barca-style singing from the big crowd and we really would have recreated a mini Nou Camp. Maybe next time. Hmm...I will have to have a quiet word with Mr Bruyea and Mr McElroy...I wonder if their singing is as good as that of their daughters?

Thank you as always to our wonderful parents and grandparents for your support - it really makes a difference to the girls to have you there cheering them on. I know they were very proud to wear the new kit and represent the school. I'm sure you all felt just as proud watching them perform. A 3-0 win is a wonderful beginning to our footballing journey in this new kit...just imagine how good we may become once we have all grown into it!

Congratulations everyone!

Team - Alex Smith (GK), Philippa Holt, Erika Mulligan, Ella Stoner, Ellie Ford, Joey Siow (Capt), Monique Garcia, Saskia Bewley, Emily McElroy, Sophie Bruyea, Sophia De Luna