Alder Girls Are Just Champion
Wednesday 23rd March 2016 @ 16:18 by Mark Phillip
Football Hyde Sports

A Gee Cross high school is celebrating after their Year 7 girls were crowned ESFA u12 national champions at the Soccerdome in Derby this month.

The youngsters, from Alder Community High School, held their nerve in a thrilling final, to win 2-1 after the game had gone to extra time.

Despite losing their opening match, the girls showed great character and skill to win the second game 4-2 against Grainville from Jersey before winning their final group game against Woking side Salesian.

The victory over Salesian meant they had secured a semi-final spot where they took on Group A winners The Venerable Bede CE Academy from Sunderland.

A very tight game was decided by a solitary goal, to send the Alder girls into the final. There they met Gordano School from North Somerset.

Another tight and tense encounter saw Alder take the lead. However, with less than 10 seconds of the game remaining, Gordano equalised to send the match in to extra-time.

Once again the Alder girls lifted themselves and their weary limbs to take the lead in the first half of extra-time.

They were now just three minutes from glory and were determined not to let their lead slip for a second time.

“It probably felt like the longest three minutes of our lives because we had to defend so much. It was just so tense,” revealed teacher Jenny Hill.

Captain Ellie Turner, who scored the winner said: “It felt really good because we had all worked so hard to get there. We didn’t think we could do it, but we still kept trying.”

Having had victory snatched away in normal time, goalkeeper Izzy Petruzelli was arguably the most relieved player to hear the final whistle.

“I was really scared when we had extra-time because I thought it was going to go to penalties,” she said.

In fact had Izzy not pulled off a dramatic last gasp save then the final would have been decided by the dreaded spot-kicks.

The victory was all the more amazing as the team has had no time to train since securing the north West crown in February.

Proud teacher Miss Hill was full of praise for the girls.

She said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for our school. We’ve been to national finals before in other competitions but we’ve never been as successful as we have been in this one, so it’s a massive first for us.

“From a little school in Tameside to be one of the winners out of over a 1,000 schools in the competition, it’s just brilliant.

“They’ve done so well, Mr O’Regan and the staff are so pleased, as am I.”