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Girls' Football Academy crowned English Schools National Champions

Barking Abbey Girls' Football Academy made history on Wednesday when they were crowned English Schools Under 18's National Champions with a 4-0 win over Durham Sixth Form. 

Notts County were the hosts on what was an extremely wet afternoon but the weather could not dampen the spirits of the first time finalists. 

Out of the two teams it was Durham who had the best chance early on when BA's Captain Aysha Bentick was called to make a goal line clearance following a Durham attack. On 18 minutes a similar attack by Durham saw Abbey's goal keeper Ellie Bowman recover the ball and play out quickly before Lucy Barnes sent a forward ball into the path of forward Anais Reynolds who converted past the goal keeper with a fine finish to make it 1-0. Durham continued to be a threat and it was Bowman involved again on 30 minutes when she was called to make a low stop following a goal bound effort. Durham continued with the pressure which saw Bowman having to tip over her cross bar on 37 minutes following a free kick. Two minutes later Barking Abbey were back on the attack when a neat through ball by Imogen Bennett saw Anais Reynolds denied by the Durham Keeper. 

Two minutes after the break Abbey extended their lead when Klesha Darroux drove inside before playing a ball out wide to Maisie Ryan who set up Kaydee King who finished from 8 yards out to make it 2-0. Two minutes later a Durham corner resulted in a goal bound effort only to see Klesha Darroux make a crucial block. Barking Abbey continued to apply the pressure and should have been 3-0 up had the crossbar preventing Imogen Bennetts long range effort following a Darroux centre. Shortly after a Durham counter attack found saw Ellie Bowman make the save of the game in denying a Durham forward in a 1v1 with a low save tipped onto the post. Sindi Kanto departed the pitch on 65 minutes before being replaced by Morgan Duffield. With 79 minutes played BA got their their third when Anais Reynolds directed Kaydee Kings corner down to the feet of Anele Komani who finished at close range. With 89 minutes the game was won when player of the match Klesha Darroux's centre found King just inside the box who finished with a low driving effort to make it 4-0 and her second of the game. BA made a triple  substitution with Viviane Osukanu replacing Maisie Ryan, Rosie Chapman came on for Anele Komani whilst Alexis Hobbs replaced Anais Reynolds. 

Head of Girls' Academy Programme Sharon Brownlie: "Reaching today's final is a first for our school and it will be a day that will we will never forget. The scoreline in a way doesn't reflect how close the game was at times. Credit to Durham who contributed towards a fantastic final. Our players were a real credit to our football programme and to our school as were our incredible supporters."

national final