Last week the team from Joy Lane Primary School headed to Coventry for the Regional Finals of The Football League Trust Kinder + Sport Kids Cup.
With 10 teams taking part the task of making it to the final at Wembley was always going to be a tough ask. Swindon, Walsall, Coventry, Southend United, Millwall, Burton United, Peterborough, Colchester and Port Vale also had schools representing them at the Regional Finals.
Joy Lane was grouped against Peterborough, Southend United, Millwall and Port Vale. First up was the team from Peterborough and the Gills started off strong, but it was Peterborough, against the run of play, who scored first to take an early lead. They then scored again to make it 0-2; however Gillingham kept pressing hard and had the majority of the possession. The pressure paid off and they managed to score twice and level the game to start off the tournament with a solid performance.
In their second game they faced a strong Southend United team who took the lead with a well worked goal. Gillingham fought back and got on the score sheet but a dominant Southend United team forced another goal and then went on and quickly scored a third. Gillingham had the chance to reduce the deficit and hit the post and were then awarded a penalty. The Southend United keeper stayed big and was able to palm the ball to safety and keep the score at 1-3.
Up next the Gills faced Millwall and again pressed throughout, in a game that saw both teams do enough to gain the win, it was Millwall who just edged it and came away with a 1-0 win.
In their last game the Gills, still full of confidence, came up against Port Vale again they started off strong, scoring in the first minute and looked comfortable throughout the game. The Gills got into fifth gear quickly through some skilful play and quick passing, scoring two more goals in quick succession, finishing the game 3-0.
Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to see the team through to the final stages with only 0ne point separating the group. The day ended in a final between Peterborough and Burton with Peterborough progressing to the National Final taking place at Wembley in May.
A big thank you to the team and teachers from Joy Lane Primary School who were a credit to the club and acted with professionalism throughout.