ECFA national representative sides get seasons underway

Both the ECFA men’s and women’s national representative teams got their seasons underway last week, as they prepare for European tours later in the campaign.

The women’s representative team kicked the season off against Sheffield FC, with an 89th-minute winner denying them a share of the spoils, while the men took a two-goal lead against Independent Schools FA but came away with just a draw.

The women’s  squad, selected after the top college players in the country attended regional and national trials , were due to play against a Manchester City XI, but after their opponents pulled out of the fixture, Sheffield stepped in to ensure the ECFA side were still able to kick-off their campaign.

But despite the last-minute rearrangements, which meant the ECFA squad was slightly depleted in number, they gave a great account of themselves in their maiden outing of the season.

ECFA twice came back from going behind, firstly through captain Ali Johnson who hit a long-range effort in the first half, and then through debutant Brenna McPartlan after the break.

But despite ECFA looking like pinching a winner late on, it was Sheffield who found the crucial strike one minute from time, to claim a 3-2 victory.

“We showed excellent attacking play with solid performances from all of the players against a mixture of first and development squad players, some of whom were a lot older and more experienced than our girls,” said coach Tim Breaker.

“We twice came back from being behind and came very close to a winner ourselves.”

ECFA women’s: Rosie Todd (York College), Niamh Lane (Solihull College), Louise Griffiths (Gateshead College), Amy Goddard (SGS College), Olivia Wilkes (Accrington and Rossendale), Emily Joyce (Solihull College), Brenna McPartlan (Accrington and Rossendale), Poppy Wilson (SGS College), Shania Hayles (Solihull College), Paige Sawyer (SGS College), Ali Johnson © (Accrington and Rossendale)

Subs: Katie Samuels (Accrington and Rossendale), Annie Rolf (Worthing College)

Meanwhile, the men’s side faced ISFA at St George’s Park and, following a breakfast which included a talk from England boss Gareth Southgate, got their campaign started.

Hartpury College’s Frank Arhin got ECFA’s first goal of the season to put the side 1-0 up, before Harry Whayman from Easton and Otley College doubled the lead.

But the men’s side were pegged back with two goals in quick succession to earn a share of the spoils.