Second-place finish for Chelsea Foundation team

Chelsea were well represented at last week’s Premier League Girls Football National Festival with the Blues finishing as runners-up during the first day of competition at St George’s Park. 

The two-day event, run by the Premier League in partnership with The FA, was part of The FA Girls' Football Week, and celebrates the work of the PL Girls Football programme throughout the year.

Teams representing 40 clubs took part in the first-ever National Festival with a squad of seven from the Chelsea Foundation’s Premier League funded girls’ projects representing the club in Thursday’s 24-team tournament.

And the girls produced a series of impressive displays, beating Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Arsenal on their way to the final. In the showpiece game, however, Newcastle narrowly edged out the Blues 1-0.

Foundation girls development officer Robert Marsden said: ‘The team performed superbly and won four out of their five group games, on their way to topping the group and earning a place in the semi-final vs Arsenal.

‘After going 1-0 down the team rallied superbly and managed to equalise with only a minute to go, and with the game looking destined for penalties, Sara Guzowska managed to find a yard of space before blasting the ball into the top corner and sending us into the final.

‘The final was an extremely close contest and one goal would unfortunately seal defeat for the team, despite their continued efforts until the final whistle.

‘The whole team deserve a tremendous amount of praise for not only their displays and effort on the pitch but their attitude and discipline off it.

‘It was a fantastic experience for all and despite falling short of the winner’s trophy, the girls left with great memories and a sense of achievement and pride.'

The PL Girls Football programme started in September 2013 and is run in partnership with The FA. More than 45,000 girls have engaged with the programme so far.

The Festival itself saw 40 Premier League and Football League teams take part in two days of activity at St. George’s Park – which ties in with the Lionesses' current Euros campaign and was part of Girls’ Football Week.