Audenshaw are within touching distance of prestigious national silverware
Wednesday 15th March 2017 @ 12:25 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Audenshaw School’s under 14 football B team are within touching distance of prestigious silverware after securing their place in the ESFA National Final.

Coached by PE teacher Dan Brooks, the squad beat Thomas Telford School 1-0 in the semi-final last week, and, in doing so, have established a date in the final against Carshalton Boys’ Sports College, Sutton, later this year.

Audenshaw have managed to go one step further than last season after the squad suffered an agonising defeat in the semi-final in 2016.

Following last week’s semi-final victory, Brooks spoke to Reporter Sport and heaped praise on his side’s commitment throughout the competition. “It was a massive result, especially after last year’s disappointment of getting beat in the semi-final in extra-time” he said.

“When we saw the draw for Telford we knew it was going to be a tough game and it turned out to be one.

“Only one goal separating it, which was a mistake from the keeper as well, so it was really, really close, but the boys are delighted as are we as a school.”

In order to reach this stage of the competition, Audenshaw have negotiated five rounds against some tough opposition.

The squad began their campaign by beating Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School 5-0 and followed it up with an emphatic 10-1 win against Temple Moor High School.

Audenshaw edged their way to a 3-0 victory over Nunthorpe Academy in Round Four, before confirming their place in the semi-final with a 4-2 win over Sandbach School in Round Five.

However, in what was described as the toughest assignment to date, Audenshaw edged their way to a 1-0 victory over Thomas Telford in the semi-final.

Regardless of the margin of victories, Brooks is pleased with the conduct of his players and said they deserve to be in the final: “There have been some games where we’ve won 10-1 and 5-0, and others that have been close such as the 4-2 win against Sandbach, so it’s a mixed bag really depending on which school you get.

“I think when you draw a school which is all boys, and you have over 200 lads to pick from, the B teams are always going to be strong – that’s where we find our strengths as well.

“You never really know what you’re going to get, especially when you’re travelling further afield to places at the back end of Derbyshire, so it’s been mixed but the boys have performed really well in every game and deserve to be there.”

Having scored 23 goals throughout the competition and conceded just three, the squad looks solid across the pitch. Brooks agrees: “We’ve got a lot of pace and players who know where the goal is” he said.

“I think one of the team’s strengths is the defence. We’ve got a solid back four and a keeper who’s doing really well under pressure as well.”

As for Carshalton, the Londoners defence is just as rigid, having conceded three times this season.

However, it appears their attacking threat is much more potent, having notched 39 goals to date.

Brooks believes that, given these stats, an exciting finale is on the agenda. He said: “It’s going to be interesting to see how their attack goes against our defence, a challenge we’re up for, and fingers crossed we can do it on the day.”

Last year’s final was held at Reading FC’s Madjeski Stadium.

However, as we went to press, a venue for this year’s final had yet to be announced.

According to Brooks, regardless of where the final takes place, Audenshaw will relish the occasion. He said: “The boys will be working with ourselves and Dave Noble, who’s an ex Manchester City coach, and he’ll be working with them in order to focus on a few areas which we are finding difficult.

“There’s lots of work to be done with a couple of months to go.”



Picture: Steven Morton