Girl footballers from Kirk Hallam Community Academy are on the road to Wembley after winning the area final of a national competition.
The year-eight students represented Derby County Community Trust in the Football League U13 Girls’ Cup. And in the area final, held at the Powerleague Soccerdome in Derby, they took on ten more six-a-side teams who were flying the flag for Football League clubs in their region, including Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry City.
But the Kirk Hallam girls were in magnificent form, and could now go all the way to Wembley where the grand final of the competition is played, ahead of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final between Barnsley and Oxford United on Sunday, April 3.
In the qualifying stages of the area final, they mauled Mansfield Town 8-1, hammered Scunthorpe United 6-0, edged past Coventry 4-3 and drew with Rotherham United 1-1.
This put them through to the semi-finals, where they defeated Forest 3-1, and then on to the final, where they beat Chesterfield in a nervewracking penalty-shootout after a close contest.
Now the girls tackle the northern regional final at Huddersfield later this month when they will face the winners of the other three northern area finals. The winners of that will take on the southern area champions at Wembley.
The Kirk Hallam team is made up of Lucy Baker, Grace Ridgway, Ella Murden, Freya Murden, Charlotte Boyle, Lilly Oakes, Jessica Shetliffe and Georgia Iwasiak.
They qualified to represent Derby County after winning the local round of the Football League U13 Girls’ Cup in November when they finished top of no fewer than 27 teams from secondary schools across Derbyshire.
Marie Cox, PE teacher at Kirk Hallam Community Academy, said staff, parents and fellow pupils at the school were all extremely proud of the girls.
She said: “To get this far in such a prestigious tournament is an incredible achievement. The girls are really looking forward to the next round.
“To compete at Wembley would be a dream come true. The area final was amazing. Our goalkeeper, Charlotte Boyle, saved the last penalty, meaning that we were through!”