Both teams had already competed in our own local tournament held at the new Ive Farm Sports Ground in Leyton and had won through to this South East (North) Regional Final in the quest to move onto the Southern Area finals.
The girl’s team from Aldersbrook Primary school in Redbridge alongside Churchfields Junior school, also from Redbridge, each now had to play in groups of seven with the top four contesting semi-finals before an ultimate final to determine the respective winners.
Churchfields impressed, managing to win all their games, defeating their adversaries from Dagenham & Redbridge 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in their final; an exact replica of last year’s competition!
Aldersbrook lost only one group game but also won their final against Dagenham & Redbridge with a creditable 2-0 scoreline.
Both teams now go through to the Southern Area Finals on March 20th, hosted this time at Eastleigh FC with a chance to play at Wembley prior to the National League Play-Off Final, against their northern counterparts. But first they will have to overcome opponents that include representatives from Torquay United, Dartford and Oxford City amongst others.
Churchfields team manager, Lisa Brown, said afterwards, “We are over the moon and looking forward to the next round. At any age, to play at Wembley is every players dream, and this competition is a wonderful opportunity for these kids. We were devasted not to make it last year and we’re determined to go one better and get there and obviously proudly represent Leyton Orient”.
Brooke Haylock, Captain of the Aldersbrook girls’ team said, “It was fantastic to represent Leyton Orient FC and wear a professional team kit in the National League cup. We hope to win the overall tournament and play at Wembley and I score, which is a dream of mine”.
Howard Gould, LOFC Community Liaison Officer, commented, “It was a pleasure watching the teams playing in the O’s kits although a little difficult at times trying to be in two places at one time (when both teams playing simultaneously). But both Aldersbrook and Churchfields were a credit to their schools and represented Leyton Orient superbly. We will now have to go through it all again to see if we will have another representative – or two – at Wembley as we did in 2014 when Chase Lane from Chingford won the equivalent EFL competition. All very exciting”.