ISFA U18 3 v 3 ESFA U18
ISFA faced English Schools FA in their final game of the season at Shrewsbury School. ISFA started the game well enjoying plenty of possession and many half chances. ESFA though, always looked dangerous on the break and having found an overlap on the right wing, a pinpoint cross from their right winger was headed home smartly into the bottom corner by their number 9.
The pace of the game upped a notch with both teams countering with speed. ISFA missed a couple more chances on the break before their number 9 calmly finished the ball past the keeper to double his tally and their lead just before half time.
ISFA started brightly second half grabbing a goal back following a superb pass from the Centre Back for ISFA’s number 9 to round the keeper and slot the ball into the back of the net with great composure.
ISFA continued to press and after forcing a mistake gained their much deserved equaliser. Whilst ISFA pushed for the winner, ESFA had other ideas and once again went in front after the ball fell kindly to one of their players in the area following a corner for an easy tap in.
ISFA rallied again scoring their own scrappy goal from a set piece to equalise. With minutes left ISFA had one final chance but ESFA’s keeper got his fingers onto the lob that looked goal bound.
A fair result for both teams in a game that was played in great spirit. A true showcase of English schools football. A fantastic end to the season for ISFA and we wish ESFA all the best for the upcoming fixtures in the Centenary Shield.
ISFA U18 0 v 1 Welsh Schools FA U18
ISFA faced the Welsh Schools FA in their fourth international of the season. Hoping to maintain their unbeaten record, they started the stronger of the two sides, dominating possession but struggling to create clear cut chances. The Welsh actually had the best two chances to score following ISFA errors and our goalkeeper pulled off some excellent saves.
The game remained 0-0 at half time and the swap of ends meant that the strong wind blowing down the pitch appeared to be in ISFA’s favour. Maybe there should be some questions over this cliché as tides turned and the Welsh took control of the game. Their relentless press meant ISFA struggled to keep the ball. The deadlock was finally broken as a Welsh player was put clean through and duly hammered home. As is often this case, this woke ISFA who rallied to push for an equaliser. A shot and a header in the dying minutes were held by the opposition keeper and ISFA had fallen to their first loss of the season.
Despite the disappointment of the loss, this was another excellent schools international. We wish the Welsh all the best as they head into the Centenary shield. ISFA’s final game will be with England Schools FA on March 6th before they also join the tournament and we very much look forward to it.
Scottish Schools FA U18 2 - 2 ISFA U18
ISFA played their 3rd international of the season on Sunday v Scottish Schools FA in the shadows of Hampden park at the Toryglen Regional Football Centre. Following on from the two international games at St George’s Park pre-Christmas, ISFA maintained their seasons unbeaten Record with a 2-2 draw. During the early stages of the game ISFA enjoyed a lot of possession, creating a number of positive situations in the Scottish defending third. It was during a dominant 20 minutes that ISFA took the lead from a quality header from a corner. The Scottish then started to get a foothold in the game, and posed more questions to the ISFA defence. Nearing the half time whistle the Scottish lads got themselves onto level terms with a fantastic 20 yard strike from the number 9. ISFA had to weather early Scottish pressure in the second half with the Scots missing two good headed chances from corners. ISFA started to get more of a foothold mid way through the second half and earned themselves a free kick 30’yards out on the left side. A quality delivery to the back post was smashed into the roof of the net to give ISFA the lead again. At this stage of the game it was possibly a fair reflection of how things had transpired. However, the Scottish side continued to search for an equaliser and this came on the stroke of full time. A ball to the ISFA box from the Scottish left found itself into the penalty spot where a Scottish player confidently finished to earn the draw. Despite the disappointment of conceded a late equaliser, ISFA should be proud of their efforts during the 90 minutes and a lot of positives can be taken out of the day as we now look forward to our next international v the Welsh Schools FA at Shrewsbury School on Sunday 06th February. We wish the Scottish Schools the best of luck in their Centenary Shield campaign this year
England Independent Schools FA U18 3 – 3 English Colleges FA U19
A morning of hydrotherapy recovery in St George’s Park’s impressive facilities and the team were back out for their second international against English Colleges. From start to finish, this was one of the best schoolboy international displays ISFA has been part of. The early stages were dominated by the opposition who were working the ball well to find players in space on either flank. Their threats were soon backed up by the impressive opener. ISFA responded extremely well though and began to enjoy spells of possession that included more penetrative passing as well waves of counter attacks. Some clever interplay led to a 1v1 before the ball was smashed in the bottom corner for the equaliser. The attacking play continued for both sides and the ISFA keeper was on hand with a couple of outstanding saves. English Colleges deservedly though went ahead again via a whipped a ball into the top corner from distance leaving the ISFA keeper helpless. ISFA retaliated quickly scoring a scoring after rounding the keeper following a clever ball. Just short of the break ISFA finally took the lead with an incredible individual goal struck from distance following a mazy run. The second half continued with the same quality and intensity as the first; both sides though were more resolute in defence. An impressive move from English Colleges resulted in the equaliser midway through. Half chances were had by both sides but neither were able to land the killer blow. The game finished 3-3 and was a true testament to the amazing work our schools and colleges are doing up and down the country; a delight for all to see.
Photographs from the St. George's Park can be found at www.rwt-photography.co.uk.
England Independent Schools FA U18 2 – 2 Welsh Colleges FA U19
The boys under 18 squad reported for their first international duty at St George’s Park after making their way through the various trials. 90 minutes on the training field in the afternoon was followed by the first international of the season against Welsh Colleges. Traditionally, our opposition have been extremely physical but this year they were also very technical. This meant that the first 20 minutes was played at a frantic pace with both teams sharing spells of possession and chances in the final third. As the intensity simmered down, ISFA gained a slight control of the game in terms of possession and territory. As the players were getting used to each other and their system of play, they played some delightful football. This was epitomised by the move for the opening goal which involved six players, taking the ball from the left all the way to the right with a “big switch” which was duly controlled, then the delivery of an early cross led to a finish first time. The half time break led to numerous changes and a new group of players looking to build on this. Welsh Colleges though were the ones to stamp their authority and whilst the penalty for an off-the-ball incident they were awarded seemed a little harsh. The goal that was scored with the follow up after the goalkeeper saved was very much deserved. The opposition pushed further and just short of the 70 minute mark, a long throw was not dealt with and ISFA found themselves 2-1 down. This spurred ISFA into gear and the group shuffled formation and searched hard for the equaliser. A typical surging run from the captain led to the ball falling to the striker after a through ball, his slip past the keeper looked to be going in but the defender cleared off the line. ISFA though were on to it and finished first time to equalise. Neither team were able to find the winner and the game finished 2-2.
ISFA U18 South 1 vs 1 Sussex FA
The ISFA South U18 squad faced a strong Sussex Schools side at City of London School Sports Ground. The match was a cagey affair with both teams enjoying their own spells of possession. The defences though were particularly strong and neither team were able to carve out any clearcut chances in front of goal. The deadlock was broken midway through the second half with a speculative effort from distance. The power and swerve though were too much for the opposition keep and ISFA found themselves 1-0 up. Sussex pressed hard and looked to win the ball high up the pitch. Their efforts were rewarded with a penalty which was duly converted close to the end of time. 1-1 was the final scoreline which was a fair result for the teams. A squad of players will now be selected for the final national trial on 28th November.
ISFA South Blue 4 vs. 0 Corinthian Casuals
In wintery conditions on a superb playing surface at Charterhouse School, ISFA South U18 Blue took on Corinthian Casuals in the annual trial match.
After a balanced opening period, it was ISFA who took the lead after impressive work down the right hand side. A second and third then followed before half time after a cut back finish after good work down the left and also another sharp finish from the right.
The 2nd half saw further chances for ISFA U18 Blue and a fourth was finally added after a mix up in the Corinthian Casuals backing. The Casuals continued to be lively on the break as ISFA probed and pushed for further goals.
This was a very enjoyable game with both teams looking to play progressive football. It was a competitive match, played in a superb spirit and was a great showcase for football.
ISFA South U18 White 11 vs. 0 Kent Schools
ISFA South U18 faced Kent Schools at Charterhouse in their first match of the season. ISFA dominated this game from start to finish. They played some beautiful football, were clinical in the final third and extremely disciplined at the back, particularly against a clearly talented opposition striker. A very promising start to the season as the group look to make selection in the national squad.