ECFA national sides suffer mixed fortunes in opening fixtures

England Colleges’ (ECFA) national sides got their seasons underway last week when both the men’s and women’s teams took on their counterparts from Independent Schools FA (ISFA).

Women 's Team V ISFA

ISFA Women 0 – 5 ECFA Women

The ECFA women’s team got their campaign off to a flying start, with a resounding 5-0 victory to claim the Future Elite Sports Shield.

On a perfect pitch at Charterhouse School in Surrey, it took ECFA just 12 minutes to settle any early nerves, when a good move down the left found Ali Johnson of Accrington and Rossendale College, who controlled the ball perfectly with her first touch before slotting into the bottom right corner.

England Colleges, playing in their all-white strip in their first game, enjoyed most of the possession and opportunities in the first half, but went in at half time just one goal to the good.

The second half started brightly and on 55 minutes, Paige Sawyer smashed the ball in from close range, only for it to be flagged for offside. A mistake led to the Independent Schools’ best chance of the game, but ECFA goalkeeper Charlotte Smith stood up well to save.

Some good play around the edge of the ISFA penalty box between Beth Lumsden and Megan Greenwood, was finished well by Lumsden (Oaklands College), and this was followed by ECFA’s third, after Ali Johnson got in behind the ISFA back four on 75 minutes.

A clever free-kick inside the last 10 minutes found Worthing College’s Valentine Pursey, whose shot nestled in the bottom left corner and Alicia Rose-Adams (Accrington and Rossendale College) finished the scoring with minutes remaining, after a cross from Johnson was chested down by Rose-Adams to finish the game off and seal a comfortable win for the England Colleges team.

ISFA Men 5 – 1 ECFA Men

Sunday was a fantastic occasion to have the finalised squad together for their first fixture as a national team.

It was a proud moment for players, parents and coaches who saw the England Colleges side take an early lead after a high-tempo start.

Despite the game being largely even the ISFA side benefitted from their previous fixtures, showing a lethal edge and high quality in extending and maintaining their lead.

Despite the scoreline it was a valuable learning experience for ECFA as a team. The game demonstrated that the side boasts high quality players, with the challenge now being to mould that talent into an efficient, effective and expressive side.

All the coaches and players are looking forward to the next fixture as well as the hard work that will happen in the lead up to our game at Dragons Park.