In a cagey first half that saw few chances, the occasion was having an impact on both sides, but it was Shrewsbury who had the better of the chances – captain Finn Sansom bought a good save from 20 yards and another half-chance from Nathan Day flew over the bar. The Queen Ethelburga (QE) winger was proving a danger down the right side, but a largely uneventful first half drew to a close with the game finely-poised at 0-0.
In the second half, QE started to dominate possession and it wasn’t long before they took the lead – an in-swinging free-kick fell to their danger man, who smashed it into the bottom corner (1-0).
Semi-finals are nervy occasions and the first goal can often prove vital – and so it proved to be. The second goal came on 57 minutes from an uncharacteristic Owen Jones error, who unfortunately under-hit a back pass which was intercepted by the QE centre forward, arguably the player of the match, who rounded the onrushing Ben Lees to double the lead (0-2).
QE’s third goal followed: another terrific strike from their winger curled into the bottom corner gave GK Lees no chance.
Despite the 0-3 score line, we continued to push forward and, from the first genuine bit of quality delivered into the box, Owen Jones powerfully headed in at the back post. Although we had another couple of half-chances, QE managed the final ten minutes to claim the victory and a place in the ISFA final (against Millfield) at the MK Dons’ Stadium in March.
Despite the disappointment of the defeat, our 1st XI can look back on a terrific Boodles Cup run and on improving upon last year’s Quarter-Final. Getting to the last four of this highly competitive tournament is a wonderful platform to build on for next year’s squad.
The support pitch-side and online from the Salopian community – staff, parents and pupils (especially the ‘Salop Army’ led by Louis Street) – was appreciated by both teams and highlighted the power of sport to bring the community together.
Thanks to our Film Fellow Dave Clifford for putting together a video of some of the match highlights: