The Highfields Sixth Form football team have enjoyed a very successful 2013-2014 season and deservedly reaped the rewards of some excellent performances, culminating in them winning both the League and Wolverhampton Schools U19s Cup.
The team have also represented the City of Wolverhampton in successive years at the Black Country Futsal Games where they competed against twelve other schools finishing in third and fourth place.
This season, they have won all of their league games with a remarkable effort scoring of 18 goals whilst conceding a solitary goal. In the West Midlands Cup, they made good progress before losing valiantly in the quarter final stage. However, it was in the Wolverhampton Schools Cup where the side have really excelled. They beat last year’s finalists, Heath Park, in the first round and this motivated them to go all the way. A victory over tough opponents NEWA in the quarter final set up a semi-final against local rivals, Smestow. A resolute performance against a strong Smestow team brought a 2-1 victory and a place in the final against the cup holders, St Peters.
The final was a tense affair; Highfields were the underdogs having lost to St Peters 6-0 in the previous year but were determined to give a good account of themselves. The team arrived at Castlecroft Stadium, home of AFC Wulfrunians, in high spirits and determined to perform well in at such a quality venue. This was Highfields first Sixth Form final for 10 years and they were determined to regain the Alan Thompson trophy – named after a former Highfields Deputy Headteacher.
The game itself took place in what felt like every different possible weather type, ranging from blistering sunshine to torrential rain. The pitch became quite heavy in parts and the quality of both teams passing suffered but the effort and commitment shown by both teams was exemplary. It was St Peters who took the lead early in the first half and then proceeded to hit the crossbar towards the end of the half. Highfields absorbed the early pressure and had the better of the rest of the half, forcing the St Peter’s goalkeeper into several excellent saves.
The second half started in similar fashion with both sides creating chances, forcing both defences into last ditch tackles. Time was running out for Highfields and the breakthrough finally came in the last 10 when a long throw into the St Peter’s area caused confusion and was eventually bundled in to the net to equalise. Not the prettiest of goals but definitely the most important this season. The euphoria quickly turned, however, to despair two minutes later when St Peter’s were awarded a penalty with only 8 minutes left to play. Surely this was the end of the road for a resilient Highfields who had worked so hard the whole season. However, the footballing Gods must have been looking down on us as the penalty was saved by Dan Ward to take the match into extra time. A further twenty minutes were unable to further separate the sides, so we went into the dreaded penalty shootout. Highfields stepped up first and missed whilst St Peters scored; it looked ominous but the footballing Gods looked down on Highfields when St Peters missed their next two penalties whilst Highfields scored theirs. It was left to Cameron Binder to take the decisive penalty which would win the trophy. The time seemed to stand still as he made his way from the comfort of the halfway line to the penalty spot. There was no need to worry as he scored his penalty with aplomb sparking scenes of sheer delight amongst the men from Highfields.
The only thing left was for captain, Jamie Allen and vice-captain, Cameron Binder to raise the trophy in front of the adoring fans. A great day and a great finish to a great season. The team deserve all the plaudits they have a wonderful work ethic and have been a pleasure to manage. To all those who have represented the team this season – well done!
The end of season awards, as voted by the players themselves, were:
Players Player of the Season = Mike Brookes
Young Player of the Season = Harjan Heer
Goal of the Season = Cameron Binder (vs Wednesfield)