Good Shepherd stormed to victory in the girls’ final of the primary schools’ Mayor’s Cup tournament with a thrilling 2-1 victory over All Saints, thanks to the inspired play of twin forwards.
Orla and Thea Coleman, 11, proved to be an irresistible combination up front as the twin sisters produced a string of instinctive passes and linking moves to bewilder a strong All Saints team in the final at Ravenscourt Park on 22 April.
In the quarter-finals, Good Shepherd in Shepherds Bush had pipped Brackenbury to a place in the semis on penalties, before going on to shrug off Wendell Park as they secured their place in the final.
As northern borough champions, Good Shepherd were playing southern champs All Saints, who had defeated Normand Croft in the southern semis.
From the start, Good Shepherd – wearing orange – flew at their opponents, making the most of their superior height to carve out a string of attacks.
But when they went ahead after four minutes it was thanks to a freak goal. Thea Coleman fired a corner kick into the crowded area… and the ball evaded everybody, including Cassandra Spence in the All Saints goal, to curl straight in.
Good Shepherd, coached by Gearoid McCormack and Tracey Kettle, made full use of the width of the pitch, running into space to give the backs targets for forward passes. All Saints, in green, were guilty of bunching around the ball.
Woman-of-the-match Thea was so enthusiastic as part of the two-pronged Good Shepherd attack that in the ninth minute one of her boots flew off and sailed over her fellow players’ heads.
She managed to get it back on in time to tee up sister Orla for a goal of her own a minute later, following a string of inventive one-twos.
There was a hunger and a gritty determination about Good Shepherd that All Saints struggled to match on the day, but in the second half All Saints bounced back.
Cassandra made a point-blank save which lifted her team-mates, and with two minutes to go Lucinda Bower pulled a goal back. “It felt really amazing to score in the final,” she said afterwards. “I’d never scored at all in the Mayor’s Cup before!”
However, the scoreline remained 2-1, and Good Shepherd lifted the trophy. “You didn’t stall, you didn’t fold, well done; you kept going, you were brilliant,” said coach Gearoid in his post-match talk to the players.
As mayor Cllr Mercy Umeh presented the medals she had special words of thanks for all the participating schools who had shown such commitment to the tournament throughout the school year.