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Pilgrim Academy Team Makes FA Schools’ Competition Debut

Pupils at Pilgrim Academy in Immingham take part in their first FA Primary Schools’ Football Tournament match, which was held at the Academy. Pictured before the game are, from left, former pupil Ella Wilson, 11, who helped to coach the team, with Daniel Plaskitt-Stanley, 11, Tommy-Jae Easton, 9, Nikolay Yovev, 11, JJ Chase, 11, Kristian Ninov, 10, Joshua Marks, 9, Jayden Handley-Jones, 9, Taylor Sinclair, 10, former pupil Freddie Guest, 11, who also coached the team, and Teacher and Team Coach Jordan Gibbon. Front from left are, CJ Goodwin, 10, Noah Crockett, captain, 10, Ethan Allen, 10, Leo Speight, 10, Alfie Shepherd, 10, Stefan Dermanski, 10.

Pilgrim Academy pupils have taken part in an FA Primary Schools’ Football Tournament - the first time many have ever played in a competitive match. Their classmates were so excited that they raked the Academy pitch before the game to make sure that it was in pristine condition.

This was only the second time the school has played as a team and their fellow pupils were thrilled to cheer them on. The match was refereed by Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College student Betsy Thomas (18), who is an accomplished footballer. Her experience allowed the game to flow.

Pilgrim Academy’s Team Captain was Noah Crockett, and they were drawn against Brunby Primary School, who fielded a team that featured multiple Academy players, including players for teams such as Scunthorpe and Sheffield Wednesday. The team has impressed in this competition in the past.

Former Pilgrim Academy students, Ella Wilson and Freddie Guest, helped class teacher Jordan Gibbon coach the team on match day, having helped coach training sessions in the previous weeks. The two pupils now attend Oasis Academy, Immingham, and they were kindly released to help with coaching for the afternoon.

Despite losing the game, Pilgrim defended valiantly for 50 minutes, working extremely hard to cover every blade of grass. Manager of the opposition team, Edward Jacob, commented that the Pilgrim players showed great attitude and commitment in the game, and never gave up.

Defensive trio Ethan Allen, Tommy-Jae Easton and Taylor Sinclair, along with goalkeeper Kristian Ninov, particularly impressed, having worked tirelessly and relentlessly to defend against the quality opposition. 

Pilgrim had more of the ball in the second half, as they were helped by impressive substitute performances.

Coach Jordan Gibbon said: “The game was played in great spirits and both teams came away with a positive experience. The skill of the players from Brunby Primary School has given the Pilgrim Academy players something to aspire to, with many commenting that they want to keep practising to raise their levels.

“Pilgrim will continue to work hard in training sessions and will endeavour to bounce back stronger in games later this year.”

Above and below: Pupils at Pilgrim Academy in Immingham take part in the FA Primary Schools’ Football Tournament match held at Pilgrim Academy. Joshua Marks heading in for a tackle.

Joshua Marks does some heavy defending.

Nikolay Yovev (11) on the ball...

....and again.

Taylor Sinclair (10).

The match was refereed by Betsy Thomas, 18, who attends Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College and is an accomplished player for a team in Lincoln.

Ethan Allen in action.

Leo Speight (10).