Last night (Thursday 23/09) the Year 11 football team had their first competitive fixture in over a year, securing a 2-1 win over Hart Academy in the Staffordshire County Cup.
Norton had a strong squad of 15 for the opening match, including a call-up for Amaan A between the sticks. A back four consisted of Joshua C at left-back, Henry H and Brandon L in the centre of defence with debutant Dylan A beginning on the right. The midfield equally strong with Luke K at left-wing, Harrison S and Charlie Pl in the middle of the park and Oliver E down the right, leaving Joe M as the focal point behind Will T as the lone striker. The bench was made up of Lewis M, Callum A, Louis S and George-Lee C
The match got off to a good tempo with both teams battling for possession early on, neither truly dominating. Joe M attempted a couple of balls through the middle to try and free Will T but the Hart defence managed to keep the striker at bay. Luke K made some good runs down the left hand side of the pitch and was able to lose his marker on a couple of opportunities to add to growing Norton pressure. Hart had their own plan however and continued to try to keep hold of the ball, who themselves identified their right-winger as a potential avenue to utilise, but Josh C and Henry H were more than capable of thwarting their attacking play. Brandon L was solid as ever at the back and ensured nothing went through the centre of the defence and Dylan A was flawless throughout the half, winning every header and 1v1 duel presented to him with a comfortable and confident display.
Around the 10 minute mark the game took a positive turn as Harrison S and Joe M were able to link up for the first time in the game, with Joe managing to thread the ball through to Will T, who poked the ball home, lifting the ball over the on-rushing goalkeeper to make it 1-0.
Another Norton attack soon after allowed Charlie P to pick up the ball around the 18 yard line, finding Joe M in the box who scooped the ball up, slipping through the goalkeepers’ hands leaving a free goal for a Will T tap-in.
Things appeared to be smooth sailing as the half drew to a close until the central midfielder for Hart gained possession on the edge of the Norton box and curled a shot top-corner with the final kick of the half.
The second half was a 0-0 in terms of goals, with neither side having any clear-cut chances as both defences were well organised and efficient. The match was played in good spirits and all 15 lads were once again a credit to the school; a good winning start to their campaign.
MOTM: Dylan A