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  • Writer's pictureESPFA


The NPL Football Academy played it’s fourth inter-league game against professional opposition when they travelled to the North West of England to face Wigan Athletic last week.

Students from Belper Town, Carlton Town, Leek Town, Mickleover Sports, Ossett Albion, Radcliffe, Warrington Town and Witton Albion were selected to take on a successful Wigan U18 side, coached by former NPLFA coach Nick Chadwick.

Held at Christopher Park, the academy base for Wigan, the game would have been postponed at any other venue if not for the superb pitch that absorbed all of the heavy torrential rain that lasted for around three hours, making conditions difficult for both sides.

Facing opposition that also included some trialists from Catergory 1 academies, our students put in a fantastic performance matching the home side technically for large parts of the games but the League One sides fitness, team cohesion and quality shone through as they ran out 6-1 victors, Bobbie Mcdonnell with the NPLFA’s only goal in the first half.

An NPLFA spokesman commented “It was a great day for the programme and a fantastic experience for our students. They all showed exemplary attitude and behaviour and we were delighted with their performance, it was a proud day for all involved. Mark Baker (tutor/coach at Warrington Town) who was head coach on the day was particularly impressive in what is always a unique situation, putting the side together when they have never played as a team.

“The inter-league games are a perfect occasion to showcase the talent we have and to reward students for their hard work both in the classroom and on the pitch over the course of the season. We are now getting asked for fixtures from professional clubs rather than just asking clubs ourselves which shows the reputation our students are gaining and the programme as a whole.

“We are hoping to organise games at all stages of the season and are now planning one for pre-season 2018.

“On behalf of everyone at the NPLFA, we would like to thank Wigan Athletic and in particular Nick Chadwick for their hospitality on the day and we wish them the very best of luck in their forthcoming finals. Also special thanks must go to the parents/friends who transported the students to allow them to take part in the day”

TEAM: Sam Gilbert (Belper Town), Joe Ruane (Warrington Town), Morgan Williams (Mickleover Sports), Tyreece Robinson (Mickleover Sports) Ben White (Warrington Town), Josh Wright (Warrington Town), Stanley Tatters (Witton Albion), Jake Smith (Mickleover Sports), Morgan Holloway (Belper Town), Bobbie Mcdonnell (Warrington Town), Ben Harley (Ossett Albion)

SUBS: (All Used) Luke Brocklehurst (Warrington Town), Max Bennett (Mickleover Sports), Harley Kozluk (Mickleover Sports), Ollie Griffths (Witton Albion), Stephen Mellor (Leek Town), Josh Harris (Carlton Town)

For match photos, visit our official Facebook page HERE.

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