The Brent U12 Girls Squad’s terrific season continued as they won the Camden & Regents Park tournament.
Having already won the League and Cup double, Brent were the tournament favourites. This being the case, the girls were ‘the team to beat; and the reduced match duration of 15 minutes meant that the first goal was going to be vital and any slip up could turn a game.
Drawn in the tougher group, Brent faced Eagles United in their first match. Brent took the lead with a wonderfully worked team goal which culminated in Chloe O’Donoghue squaring the ball to Giussepina Carnavale to blast into the net. 1-0. Brent dominated possession but with two minutes remaining Eagles equalised with a long-range fee kick and much to the delight of the Eagles team and their fans, the match ended 1-1.
This ramped up the pressure for the second game against Dragons, with Brent needing a win to progress to the knockout stages. The league match between the two had been a tight game but with a semi-final at stake, Brent started the sharpest and Brianna Etiko opened the scoring after intercepting a pass. Etiko scored her team’s second goal, finishing after excellent skill from Maya Rosenberg and the match was put beyond the Dragons when Carnavale found the net with a 25 year drive. Rosenberg was at the heart of the fourth and final goal, jinking between defenders before setting up O' Donoghue who curled the ball just inside the far post. A place in the semi-final was secure. When it was announced that the semi-final would be against the Brent Under-11 team there was some trepidation and rightly so. The Brent Under-11 squad were arguably the team of the tournament, having made the last four whilst playing a year up. Pele, Livi, Kathleen Ferreira , Olivia and Keenda had all been outstanding and with Natalia on form in goal it was set up for a tough game.
Brent U11 dominated the game from the outset. It was end to end stuff as Keely Dibley Dias and Sophie Kew defended well and Milly May Blue bravely saved a certain goal diving to tip the ball past the post. Against the run of play, Brent U12 counter attacked and top scorer Scout Waddington showed great pace before launching a long range shot which squeezed just inside the post past the unsighted ‘keeper.
The other semi-final was also a tense affair with Queens Park Sharks eventually beating Eagles in a penalty shoot-out to set up a local derby in the Final.
Brent had won the previous encounter but Sharks are vastly improved under coach Pam Shores. The early stages of the games were tight. Giussepina Carnavale gave Brent the lead with a spectacular long-range shot. Brianna Etiko set up Chloe O' Donoghue to score the second before Carnavale capped a mazy run placing the ball into the corner to make it 3-0 at half time.
After the break Carnavale released Waddington for the fourth before Matilda Easterby combined well with Laiba Mir whose pin point pass found Waddington to make it 5 and Apollonia Margetson capped a great performance, completed the scoring with a brilliant volley from the edge of the box.
After the game Brent were presented with both the tournament winner’s trophy and that for the League Championship. Brent coach Chris Ampofo "The girls were brilliant today and they have been all season. All of the games were tough and they really rose to the challenge" He singled out the Under-11s for special praise. "They were brilliant. It was toughest game we had today. Patricia Taylor is doing great job with them. It is great to see girls’ football in the borough developing so well. We now have three girls’ teams at Under 9, 11 and 12 and girls football is going from strength to strength".
U12 squad: Giuseppina Carnavale (capt), Sophie Kew, Chloe O’Donoghue , Elizabeth Ulusele, Maya Rosenberg, Apolonia Margetson, Matilda Easterby, Laiba Mir, Scout Waddington, Milly May Blue, Brianna John -Etiko, Keely Dibley-Dias,
Brent's next big game is May 4th when they will face QPR and local rivals Queens Park Sharks again in the Brent Super Cup.
In boys’ football, the Brent Under-11 A team’s terrific run continued with a 2-1 victory away to Hackney in the Lester Finch Cup. Brent U11b battled bravely but went down 4-2 away to Letchworth.