Premier League Schools Tournament 2017
The Ace Team travelled to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday 23rd May to take part in the national tournament against the 20 best schools from all over the country.
The team arrived in the luxury of the Chelsea 1st Team coach. Each Premier League team was represented by a primary school and John Keble were representing the recent champions of the Premier League title, Chelsea FC.
The tournament started in the group stages with the winners of each group going through to the semi-finals. Our first match was against Everton. Coach Eddie gave his instructions and we got off to a flying start when our striker scored from an excellent shot to put Chelsea 1-0 up. One of our midfielders then doubled the lead with a powerful shot. However, Everton scored 2 late goals and the game finished 2-2.
The following game was against a very strong Hull team, containing 2 academy players. A great finish from one of our strikers was the difference between the two teams and Chelsea won the match 1-0.
High on confidence the boys faced Liverpool, the 2015 champions of the tournament. Our striker scored an early goal to set the pace. But Liverpool were then awarded a free kick near the Chelsea goal. It looked like a definite goal but our goalkeeper made an amazing save to flick the ball onto the crossbar and keep the score at 1-0. Straight after our goalkeeper's wonder save, our stiker doubled the lead with a great shot. The game ended 2-0.
The final group match was against Watford and a win would see John Keble (Chelsea) progress through to the semi-finals. With this in mind, Coach Eddie set up the team in an attacking formation which allowed the boys to apply constant pressure on the Watford goal. Despite this tactical change, the boys could not score. With only seconds left on the clock our attacking midfielder went on a great solo run and delivered a powerful strike which hit the post and went in! The boys had done it!
For the first time in the history of the tournament, Chelsea had won their group. The boys were very proud to be the team representing Chelsea and get to the later stages of the tournament.
Crystal Palace were the opponents that Chelsea faced on Pitch 1 – in front of a home crowd of 60 pupils who had travelled from John Keble School to support the team. The atmosphere was terrific! The boys had 2 early chances but could not find the back of the net. Crystal Palace then scored from a long-range free kick, completely against the run of play. However, the boys fought back and equalised through a stunning long-range effort from our holding midfielder. The game finished 1-1 and went straight to a penalty shoot-out. Each team took 5 penalties which the Crystal Palace team were able to convert into 5 goals. Unfortunately, we only scored 4 of the 5! The boys were crestfallen – a cruel way to end a fantastic day but what a great experience for the Ace Team.