The Calday Year 11 football team made an impressive start in the first round of this year’s Wirral Cup on Wednesday afternoon, booking their place in the quarter-finals with their comfortable win at their second home in Bidston.
Since Year 8, the Wirral Tennis Centre has played host to seven games for the team captained by Allport, and they have won them all.
The team won the Wirral Cup five years ago in Year 7, and they hope to replicate this feat in their final year together as a squad. There was certainly a palpable feeling of optimism after the game on Wednesday, as the boys belted out a rendition of ‘Sweet Caroline’ on the minibus back to school.
The home team started brightly, and it was thanks to an elegantly floated corner by Russell that the men in maroon took the lead in the first minute. Brocklehurst somehow managed to negotiate acres of space in a crowded penalty area and headed home coolly for his third of the season and his ninth in Calday colours.
With the game continuing in the same manner, the away side battled hard to repel the methodical movements of Russell and Lane on the wings, and it was the latter who was tripped just inside the area in the 10th minute. Referee Peter Gibbons had no hesitation and pointed to the spot. Up stepped Allport, who sent the keeper the wrong way to double Calday’s lead.
A minute later, a third Calday goal scorer had his name on the chart, Blackie finishing well after some fantastic midfield play from the stalwart, Brocklehurst. 3-0.
Whitby, who were missing some key players from their side, were not to let their heads drop as they created some good moments of play, but any signs of attack were quickly nullified by Dempsey and Aristodemou in centre-back, confidently supported by Sterry and Harris in their full-back positions.
However, each time Calday attacked, they looked like they could create key opportunities. Their relentlessness was rewarded on 25 minutes, as Poe struck home via a deflection for his twenty-second goal since Year 7.
By half-time, Calday were 6-0 up, thanks to a wicked free-kick by Allport and a smart finish by Russell, who did well to squeeze the ball inside the near post from the right of the box.
Three changes were made by the home side at the break, as O’Rorke, Dancey and Bastow joined the action, and they all had a positive influence on the game. O’Rorke exuded authority at left-back, getting forward well to support Calday’s attacks. Bastow played some pinpoint cross-field balls, and Dancey added his name to the scoresheet, following yet another piece of excellent play by Brocklehurst. Practising his football trade with Crewe Academy, Dancey spotted the keeper off his line and expertly lobbed the ball into the net.
The Ellesmere Port outfit were rewarded for a period of positive possession in the second half with a goal, which took a telling deflection and looped over Wiggins – who had no chance of keeping it out.
Russell’s nifty footwork perplexed Whitby all afternoon and it was he who was fouled on 55 minutes to give Calday their second penalty of the afternoon. And it was Russell who stepped up to the spot to convert to resume Calday’s inexorable performance.
Captain Allport was reintroduced to the game with 10 minutes to play, and he completed his hat-trick, finishing low across the face of the goal, and he added another a minute later when he beat the oncoming Whitby keeper to the ball before finishing into an empty net from a tight angle. The prolific striker is Calday Year 11’s top-scorer both this season and overall, having netted 52 of Calday’s 155 goals since Year 7, and 13 of the team’s 31 goals this season.
The boys progress to the last eight of the competition and will travel to Wallasey to play St. Mary’s. Well done to all 14 players involved!
Goals: Allport (4), Russell (2), Brocklehurst, Blackie, Poe, Dancey