Stanley High School in Southport has brought a prestigious national football trophy to the town for the third year in a row.
The school’s year 8 team beat Hurtsmere School from London 3-1 in the final of the ESFA Playstation Under 13 Schools’ Cup competition at Reading FC’s Madejski Stadium.
Two goals from Marco Pinto Ventura and one from Joel Scholes secured victory for the side which included many players from the team which won the equivalent under 12 competition last year.
Stanley’s year 10 team had also previously won the under 15 Playstation event in 2014.
The Madejski win capped a thrilling under 13 cup campaign for Stanley which began with emphatic home victories over St Mary’s Catholic College in Wallasey in round 1 (5-1), Liverpool’s Cardinal Heenan Catholic Sports College in round 2 (3-1) and West Hill School from Stalybridge in round 3 (5-1).
A 2-1 away victory against Liverpool’s St Francis Xavier’s College in round 4 set up a quarter final on home turf against Thomas Telford School from Shropshire which Stanley won by a narrow 1-0 margin after extra time.
The semi final away at Audenshaw School in Manchester also went to extra time before Stanley scored in the last 20 seconds to record a 3-2 victory and secure their place in the final.
The Madejski game was screened live for Stanley High students in the school sports hall with commentary from ex-England and Liverpool player, John Scales.
Man of the match in the final was Stanley’s Fred Thorpe with the squad also receiving a new kit from sponsors Playstation.
Stanley High PE teacher and Team Coach, James Walsh, commented: “Winning this trophy and effectively defending a title they won last year is a terrific achievement, and speaks volumes about the ability and attitude of these talented players who never cease to surpass our expectations.
“I’d like to thank all the parents who travelled to Reading to watch the final and also our staff and students for their continued support. They all witnessed a fantastic display of skill and sportsmanship.”
Stanley High Headteacher, Ed Fitzpatrick, added: “The whole school is justifiably proud of the determination and grit the players showed throughout this competition. I’d also like to offer my personal thanks to Mr Walsh for his unstinting belief in the team all season.”