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Staff v Leavers football match ends with thrilling penalty shootout

With no other sports fixtures during the last week of term, all eyes were on the eagerly anticipated annual Staff v Year 13 Leavers football match on Thursday afternoon, and it did not disappoint.

Coming off of a win last year, the staff football team were looking for their second victory in as many years when they took on the fresh-faced 2023 Year 13 Leavers team.

Last year, a change in format meant the fixture was played on the astro pitch with smaller 7aside teams. This year however, the format was reverted back to 11aside on a full sized pitch, and with line ups announced, it was then down to business.

20230330_133822288_iOSThe early stages of the match were evenly contested, both teams getting into their rhythm, and get a feel for the tricky surface that was in far from perfect condition. Ethan Hill (Year 13) was first to test Mr Hampton in the staff team goal, with a first time shot that the goalkeeper did well to beat away. Will Garner-Hutton, in goal for the Year 13 team, also did well to gobble up any threatening through balls from the staff team’s defence and midfield.

The game then exploded into life on the half hour mark, when a dangerous looking corner was sent into the Year 13 box, Will Garner-Hutton did well to parry the initial strike, but Mr Vickerman was first to pounce on the rebound to slot the ball home and give the staff team the lead.


The staff team barely had time to finish their high fives though as the Year 13 team raced up field from the kick off. A lovely pass through the staff team defence saw Ethan Hill race clear and find himself one-on-one with Mr Hampton. The Bethany pupil then produced a gorgeous chip, that lofted over the outstretched arms of the goalkeeper to bring the Year 13 team level, almost immediately after conceding. Cue wild celebrations!

Despite Beth Kuhepa (Year 13) trying to bamboozle the staff team defence with her unique take on the offside rule, the game then calmed after the goals and the teams went into the half time break level at 1-1.


There was much huff and puff in the second half, both goalkeepers keeping the sides level with important saves. The staff team had a flurry of corners, all of which resulted in nothing. Ibukun Olagunju (Year 13) showed good pace down the left hand side to latch onto a through ball although his shot was well saved by Mr Hampton.

Being spurred on by their manager, Sean ‘Pep Guardiola’ Cameron, throughout the second half, the Year 13 team couldn’t force the staff team into conceding, even with Sean barking tactical instructions and substitutions through his megaphone.

20230330_142727251_iOSThen, with seconds to go in the match, Mr Henson found a pocket of space on the edge of the Year 13 box, his shot looked destined for the far corner and time seemed to go in slow motion as everyone watched the ball trickle just past the post and out for a goal kick.

The final whistle was blown and the scores remained level at 1-1. And so, the match was to be decided by penalties. The full penalty shootout video can be viewed at the bottom of this article (staff team reading this may want to cover your eyes now…).

First up in the shootout was Ethan Hill, his confident penalty sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and the Bethany pupil then even shushed the staff team players with his trademark celebration. 1-0 Leavers.

First up for the staff team was Gap Year Student, Mr Leaver, and his penalty gave the goalkeeper no chance. 1-1.

Second for the Year 13 team was Max Rogers. His penalty was powered high into the top left corner, past the reach of the staff team goalkeeper. 2-1 Leavers.

Second for the staff team was Head of Sixth Form, Mr Duff. His left footed penalty down low and left was well read by Will Garner-Hutton, who made the save to give advantage to the Year 13 Leavers’ as the shootout score remained 2-1.

Third for the Year 13 team was Will Garner-Hutton himself. The goalkeeper turned penalty taker unfortunately slipped at the key moment, the pitch and penalty spot being more mud than grass at this point, and his penalty was comfortably saved by Mr Hampton to give the staff team some hope. 2-1.

Third for the staff team was Lead Teacher of Chemistry and Mount Housemaster, Mr Vickerman. He casually rifled the ball into the top left hand corner to get the staff team back on level terms. 2-2.

Fourth for the Year 13 team was Olubi Nihinlola. Complete with extended run up, he made no nonsense of his penalty and powered it home straight down the middle to put the pressure back on the staff team. 3-2 Leavers.

Fourth for the staff team was Bethany’s Finance Officer, Mr Mulcahy. We are reliably informed that he tried to ‘give the goalkeeper the eyes’, however Will Garner-Hutton stood strong and won the battle of wills, diving low to his left to make the save. Match point to the Year 13 team. 3-2.

Fifth for the Year 13 team was Will Harby. More often than not, Will is more likely to be seen with a cricket bat in his hands than a football at his feet, but in this case, it was down to him to bring home the win for the Year 13 side, and his cool and confident penalty down low into the bottom left hand corner did just that. Leavers win 4-2 on penalties.

Cue more wild celebrations, including a full team bundle to congratulate their winning penalty taker.

Well done, Year 13 Leavers, a deserved victory after an intense battle!

Final score: Staff Team 1-1 Year 13 Leavers – Leavers win 4-2 on penalties.
Player of the match: Ethan Hill

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