Year 11 Wirral Cup Quarter-Final Result: St Mary’s 1-6 Calday

Calday’s Year 11 football team progressed to the semi-final of the Wirral Cup on Thursday afternoon as they defeated St Mary’s in the last eight of the competition. It is not yet known which school they will face in the semi-final. Mosslands are due to play Pensby on 23rd March in the round-of-16 game, with the winner playing away at Bebington in the quarter-finals to decide who will travel to Calday in the semis. The weather was perfect for an afternoon of football – unless you were a goalkeeper or a spectator – with the sun shining brightly over Wirral Tennis Centre. The facility in Bidston has ordinarily been Calday Year 11's home ground in recent months, though it was the team from Wallasey who selected the venue this time around. Having won all of their previous fixtures there since 2018, this gave the Calday team added confidence. Calday began the game with purpose, working hard to put their stamp on the tie as quickly as they could. O’Rorke was having success down the left, as he offered up several teasing crosses for Calday’s forward players, but they were well-defended by St Mary’s. It was in the 13th minute when Calday finally broke the deadlock. A swift passing move from the right to the left via Lane and Allport found Russell, who bypassed the defender and drilled the ball across the keeper and just inside the far post. Calday gained bags of confidence from their positive start, and the same trio were involved in their second goal. Allport's presence resulted in the St Mary's keeper fumbling the ball from a dangerous Russell set piece, and Lane was ready to pounce as he smashed the ball into the net from close range for his third of the season and eighteenth overall in Calday colours. And so it continued, as Calday looked to take the tie away from St Mary's with a third goal in a relentless eight-minute period. After receiving the ball from a throw on the right, Dancey turned on the ball and artistically fed a cutting pass to Poe, who finished with confidence to register his second goal in successive games and his third of the season. 3-0. Some of Calday's passing play in midfield was a joy to watch. Poe, Allport and Brocklehurst took control of the possession with swift one-touch passing moves, and the latter worked indefatigably to win the ball back from the hosts as soon as they had it at their feet. The men in maroon limited their opponents to one or two half-chances in the opening half, and were hoping to replicate their superb performance in the second. Four changes were made at the break, as Calday's coach, Mr Phillips, introduced Blackie, Bastow, Harris and Smith for the second half. It was a debut appearance for left-sided Smith, who had impressed in Calday's Year 10 team and had been given the nod to feature for the Year 11s. St Mary's started the second period much more quickly, though, and were rewarded for their spirit with five second-half minutes on the clock. A pass from midfield found the lively number seven, who drove into the left side of the area and blasted home unchallenged. 3-1. A minute later, Calday looked to restore the three-goal advantage as Russell, who caused headaches for the St Mary's back line all afternoon, weaved his way down the left and sent in a wicked cross. Allport was there to meet the delivery, but was unfortunate to watch his header cannon off the post and out to safety. As the second half progressed, Calday adjusted well to the half-time changes and began to reimpose their style onto the game. With 25 minutes left to play, Bastow's corner from the left made its way to Poe - his header was well-blocked by a defender on the line, though Brocklehurst was awarded for his excellent all-round performance as he followed up the rebound to put Calday 4-1 ahead. Three minutes later, Bastow had the ball at his feet once again and found Blackie 20 yards from goal. The versatile forward player, who can play out wide or in the middle, controlled the ball and curled a pinpoint finish via the inside of the post, with a St Mary's defender unfortunate not to keep it out on the line. With nine minutes to play, the team from West Kirby finished the game off. Once again, the midfield crafted a superb passing move, culminating in a fantastic one-two between Blackie and Allport, the latter being fouled just outside the area. Prolific striker Allport, who has scored a third of Calday's 161 goals since Year 7, stepped up to take the resulting free-kick (see video), and fired in off the post. Most pleasing, however, was that Calday's goals on Thursday came from six different scorers, showing that they have players all over the pitch who can cause problems and contribute to the tally. The man-of-the-match award could have been presented to one of many players in Calday colours, so O'Rorke did really well to be named this time around. A player who has shown constant improvement since Year 7, the left back defended excellently alongside fellow defenders Pike, Aristodemou and Dempsey, and supported the forwards with his tantalising crosses. Well done to him and all 15 players who contributed to the team's success! Squad: Wiggins, Pike, Aristodemou, Dempsey, O'Rorke (MOTM), Smith, Harris, Lane, Blackie, Brocklehurst, Poe, Russell, Dancey, Allport (captain), Bastow

Goals: Russell, Lane, Poe, Brocklehurst, Blackie, Allport

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