BLACKBURN The Redeemer Primary School left it late to book their place in the Lancashire Youth Games girls football finals.
The final of the Blackburn with Darwen Year 5/6 competition appeared to be heading for a penalty shoot-out with Redeemer and St Anthony’s locked at 0-0 with just a few minutes remaining.
However, two goals in the last three minutes saw Redeemer clinch the title and they will no represent the borough in the county finals in July.
The final was the culmination of a day of high quality football produced by all the teams who took part.
St Bedes RC Sports College once again hosted the competition which consisted of 15 schools from across Blackburn and Darwen.
Schools were split into three groups of five with the top team from each group going through - along with one lucky loser from across all three groups.
Group One included of Audley, Avondale, Shadsworth, St Anthony’s and Wensley Fold. In Group Two were St Cuthbert’s, Longshaw, Lower Darwen, Meadowhead and St Thomas.
While the eventually champions The Redeemer were in Group Three alongside Cedars, Feniscowles, Lammack, and St Francis.
St Anthony’s topped Group One having amassed 10 points from there four group games, winning three and drawing one.
St Cuthbert’s put down and early marker as the team to watch and they stormed through their group, winning all four matches and finishing with the maximum 12 points.
And the Redeemer safely made it through to the semi finals, finishing with a unbeaten record of three wins and a draw to top Group Three.
The ‘Lucky Loser’ went to Lower Darwen, but only after some nail biting drama.
Both Lower Darwen and Feniscowles finished on nine points, with exactly the same goal difference and goals scored.
So it was down to a penalty shoot-out and it was Lower Darwen who took the spoils and advanced to the semi-finals.
Lower Darwen were involved in more drama against St Anthony’s in the semi finals, scoring a late equaliser to force another spot kick shoot-out.
And in keeping with a game of high standards the shoot-out went to sudden death.
Lower Darwen missed their first penalty which meant St Anthony’s had to score to make the final And their player kept her nerve and slotted the penalty home.
For Lower Darwen, they tasted the highs and lows of a penalty shoot-out in successive games but, to their credit, they regrouped to beat St Cuthbert’s 3-0 in the third and fourth place play-off.
St Cuthbert’s had earlier missed out on a place in the final after losing 1-0 to the The Redeemer in a very tight game.
The final itself was a nervy affair, both teams starting in edgy mood but grew in confidence as the game went on.
A third penalty shoot-out of the day appeared to be on the cards until The Redeemer scored twice in the closing stages to claim this year’s trophy.
They will now go onto the Lancashire Youth Games to represent Blackburn with Darwen on July 1.
The SPAR Lancashire School Games is organised by the Lancashire Local Organising Committee (LOC) and sponsored by James Hall & Company Ltd, the SPAR distributors for the North of England.
Locally, the girls was the best attended with the level of football impressing School Games Organiser Andrew Mercer “The standard on display was excellent,” said Mercer. “And it was great to see a record number of schools at this year’s competition.
“I would like to thank St Bede’s for hosting the event and to Brenna Mcpartlan, Katie Samuels and Ebony Stinson from St Bede’s for refereeing all of the games.
“All three St Bede’s pupils are members of Blackburn Rovers Girls Academy and did an excellent job on the night.
“I wish The Redeemer the best of luck as they progress to the county finals.
“I’m sure the team will do the borough proud in Blackpool.”