Under 14 girls pipped on penalties as St Ivo School miss out on a glorious double

The St Ivo School Under 14 girls' team pictured after an earlier round of the competition.

The St Ivo School Under 14 girls' team pictured after an earlier round of the competition. - Credit: Archant

The St Ivo School were denied a national trophy double in agonising style this afternoon.

Their Under 14 girls’ side looked set to lift the English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) PlayStation Schools’ Cup crown at the Madejski Stadium – just as their Under 13 team had done 24 hours earlier.

But they were on the receiving end of a dramatic fightback from Shropshire opponents Thomas Telford who struck twice in second-half stoppage time to level at 2-2 before winning 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out.

It was an astonishing turnaround at the end of a fiercely-contested match at the home of Championship club Reading.

St Ivo were under pressure for the majority of the first half when only a goal-line clearance from Lauren Mellors and the woodwork prevented them from falling behind.

But they made the most of those let-offs to clinically hit the front a minute before the break when player-of-the-match Katherine Speed raced onto an Abby Townsend pass, danced round the goalkeeper and slotted into the empty net.

A post again came to St Ivo’s rescue before they doubled their advantage midway through the second half as a Speed free-kick was headed into her own net by Thomas Telford player Sophie Branford.

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That looked set to be enough to complete a 24-hour double for St Ivo, but Thomas Telford had other ideas as they mounted their dramatic revival in five minutes of additional time.

Branford slammed in a fine 20-yard strike before Sadie Craig burst past a couple of defenders and rifled into the roof of the net.

And they completed the turnaround from the spot to take victory when St Ivo player Ellie Brown saw her effort well-saved.

St Ivo manager Lisa Trigg said: “This is the third time in three years this team has reached their national final and hopefully we will be back again next year.

“All credit where it is due to Thomas Telford for coming back in the way they did. They had been hugely unlucky not to score earlier in the game in all honesty.”

St Ivo School Under 14 girls squad: Sophie Marjoram, Sophie Tarpey, Aimee Best, Nell Webber, Ellen Bullin, Ellie Brown, Katherine Speed, Casey Norman, Abby Townsend, Elle Jefferson, Zoe Barratt, Lauren Mellors, Alice Claridge, Caitlin McGeown, Emma Mellors.