THE Winsford Academy under 13s girls football team are at the business end of a terrific season.

They have reached one final, which is to be played next week, and are through to the semi-finals of a national competition.

Kady Harrison, the school’s deputy head of PE, describes her team’s success so far as ‘amazing’ and she gave a nod to Winsford Town player-manager Rob Hopley, the former Witton Albion striker and skipper, for his assistance with coaching.

The girls will face Great Sankey High School from Warrington in the final of the Cheshire Cup on Tuesday, March 19, and will be away to opposition not yet confirmed in the last four of the National Cup.

Winsford faced strong opponents in the National Cup quarter-finals.

They welcomed The Bicester School from Oxfordshire, who arrived in Winsford unbeaten in all competitive games since their players had joined the school in Year 7.

“What an absolutely thrilling game,” said Miss Harrison.

Ella Clarke put them ahead from a corner within 7 minutes but Bicester equalised.

Towards the end of the first half player-of-the-match Ella Hopley, who was tenacious throughout, got herself a goal and Winsford were well in control at that point.

“Ella Clarke then scored an absolute worldie of a goal from inside her own half to end the first period at 3-1,” said Miss Harrison.

Within three minutes Hopley scored her second, making it 4-1 which seemed to light a fire under the opposition.

Soon it was 4-2 but Clarke hit a free kick into the back of the net for her hat-trick.

Bicester did not give in, though, and netted twice, so with 12 minutes to go the score was 5-4 and the pressure was on.

Winsford continued to press and at 60 minutes Hopley completed her hat-trick.

The game was not over and the opposition took every chance they could to have a shot on goal.

In the closing minutes there was added time, injuries and more pressure but Esme Entwistle made the result safe when she managed to bag herself a late goal.

Squad: Ella Clarke, Ella Hopley, Esme Entwistle, Lola Noden, Lyla Thomas, Faye Yarwood, Summer Jones-White, Ruby Williams, Lily Rogers, Eris Davies, Lexie Brookes, Ellie-May Cain, Kia Latham.

Winsford went into that contest on the back of winning their Cheshire Cup semi-final in nail-biting fashion at Neston High School a week earlier.

“Oh my, what a semi-final that was,” said Miss Harrison.

“The first half didn’t go as we planned and we made a very slow start in which the girls just couldn't get into the game. Neston took a 2-0 lead at half time and were a very strong side.”

However, a good team talk at half-time resulted in the Winsford girls coming out firing on all cylinders.

Entwistle got a great early goal and it was game on.

Neston continued to push and press but they gave away a free kick on the edge of the box.

Clarke took her chance and hit the ball wonderfully to make it 2-2.

Neston managed to get their noses back in front with just 10 minutes to go.

“Our girls just kept on battling and we had a couple of corners in the dying minutes of the game with the final one coming in the last seconds,” said Miss Harrison.

“Eris Davies swung the ball in to Ella Hopley's head, Neston defended well, Faye Yarwood took a touch, which made it to Ella Clarke's head and into the back of the net. The final whistle went at 3-3.”

That brought a penalty shoot-out in which there goals, saves and misses from both teams.

It went to sudden death and Neston missed.

Lily Rogers composed herself well and placed the ball comfortably into the back of the net for Winsford Academy to win 6-5.