St. John’s welcomed Truro School, who travelled from Cornwall, for our U12s National Cup Semi-Final match.
Both teams had done exceptionally well to get to the Semi-Final of this year’s ESFA U12s PlayStation Small Schools’ Cup, and both teams had a very good record in previous rounds, which made this fixture one to look forward to.
The match, on Wednesday 7th March 2018, kicked off at 11am in the beautiful sunshine. After a few minutes, the whole school came out to view the match in support of the students. The first 10 minutes were tense, and you could sense both teams’ nerves. We kept possession of the ball well and, once the game settled, Truro found it difficult to get on the ball. After a great run from Joshua Elash, Jola Akimbola had a great opportunity to score before his shot was saved. The nerves started to fade when Joshua Elash opened the scoring, picking up the ball in midfield and running through the defence into the box, scoring a fine goal on his weaker foot to make it 1-0.
Minutes later, Truro started to get back into the game. A free kick from a distance cannoned back after hitting the crossbar, and we breathed a huge sigh of relief. In a similar situation, another free kick was headed off the line by Joshua White. Then, our goalkeeper Malik Boukassa, was called into action when he pulled off an outstanding one handed save to deny the Truro striker and keep the score line at 1-0. A very good save from Boukassa who played in goal for only the second time.
These worrying moments woke us up, and we started to play the fantastic passing and moving game that we knew we were capable of. When we started to play our style of football, Truro really struggled to keep us out. A fine passing move between Joshua Elash, Gabriel Morgante and Harrison Dudziak resulted in Dudziak being in the perfect place to make it 2-0. Our nerves at this point were vanishing fast as our home support grew with every goal.
The score became 3-0 after another good passing move ended with the keeper making a good save from Dudziak, but unfortunately for him Morgante was there to tap it in. At this point, there was no stopping us as we pushed for a fourth goal, and just before half time Joshua Elash once again found the back of the net.
Our half time talk was simply ‘more of the same’, and for our defenders to keep concentrating. The second half wasn’t as exciting though as, by this point, the game was practically over. Even so, we continued to push forward and cause Truro problems. We were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Morgante was brought down in the box.
We went on to score a fifth goal through Joshua Elash who picked up yet another hat-trick, before Harrison Dudziak made it a sixth goal. The score line was deserved, although we did have a tricky five-minute spell, and on another day it could have been closer. However, the performance was outstanding. The behaviour of the pupils who came to support the students was exceptional. All round, it was a perfect day for the school in the sunshine.
We now wait to find out who we will face in the final, which will be played at a professional stadium sometime in May. A huge well done to all the students involved.