ISA Football at Crystal Palace

14 Jul 2020

On a cold, bright and clear morning, on Friday 6th March, Westward travelled to Crystal Palace for the reconvened ISA Football tournament at the National Sports Centre.

Our opening match was against Elmhurst and was lost 0-1 to an early goal. Westward got better as the game went on, with Marcus completing several crunching tackles in defence but unfortunately an equaliser could not be found.

Straight afterwards came Oakfield Prep, which was lost 1-3. Westward got caught on the break and punished with some accurate finishing. Henry got a goal back with good shot from distance which nestled in the bottom left corner.

Our third game started well against London Christian School, hitting the bar but unfortunately the shot bounced out, off the keeper’s head. LCS then went ahead from a thunderbolt through a crowd of players. Westward rallied well and equalised through Henry and then took the lead, again courtesy of Henry.

LOGS was our next match and our school’s sporting nemesis, so we were desperate to reverse a pair of losses in tag rugby and netball. An inauspicious start saw LOGS take a 1-0 lead, but Westward were not for turning. Henry levelled the scores, following up from his own rebound to equalise. A to and fro game ensued, but thanks to a second from Henry, Westward broke their jinx and walked away 2-1 to the good!

Local rivals Weston Green were the next opponents and all the boys were keen to do well. A tight match began, with no quarter given by either side. Henry opened the scoring for Westward with a well taken goal, before Harry provided a buffer, with a brace to make the final score 3-0 Westward.

Radnor House were our sixth match out of eight in the group stage, with the top four from our group of nine progressing to the quarterfinals. Looking a very strong side, Radnor House had won all of their previous games, but Westward took to the field confident after a run of three straight victories. A very tight match ensued with chances at either end. Dylan was busier in the Westward goal, and eventually Radnor House scored a very good goal, to make the score 0-1. Despite best efforts, Westward were unable to regain parity and that’s how it finished.

Two games to go against St David’s and Shoreham…

St David’s were first, and were an organised side. Ollie and Torin made good contributions in midfield, before Henry put Westward ahead. St David’s did their best to get one back but determined defence and attack from Westward meant that the game finished 1-0 to our advantage.

The last group game against Shoreham came immediately after St David’s and would possibly decide who made it by through to the quarterfinals- so tension was palpable!

Another even match up was what took place, with both teams showing skill and commitment Isaac worked well with Harry to create some good chances and Westward opened the scoring after a long even period, with Henry converting well from distance. Shoreham battled hard but were unable to equalise, nearly conceding a second to Harry in the dying seconds of the game.

The group stage finished, Westward waited to find out their quarterfinal opponents.

Having finished fourth in the group, Westward drew St Christopher’s, who had won their group and looked an accomplished outfit. Nevertheless, Westward put their best foot forward and got stuck in. A brace of early goals from St Christopher’s took the wind out of Westward sails though, and despite working hard to try and come back into the game, ultimately that was how it finished.

So an exit at the quarterfinal stage, but the squad were a credit to themselves and their school, and can leave with their heads held rightly high.

Mr Evans