Football Crazy, Football Mad
(By Sue Clarke)
The bell rang at four o'clock and all the children at Chapel High School poured out into the corridor, rushing out of school.
Donna picked up her bag and went down to the gym. Tonight was football practice night and next Saturday there was a big match - the final of the Inter-schools Competition. Donna got changed and went out to the football pitch . A crowd of boys was hanging around the field, waiting for Mr. Jones the sports teacher to arrive.
Just then, a tall heavy man in sports kit strode across the field. He came over to the football pitch and called to everyone.
Mr. Jones is sick, he said, "I'm Mr. Stanley. From now on, I'm in charge of the team."
Everybody looked unhappy. Mr. Jones was a good teacher. But they had never seen Mr. Stanley before.
Right, said Mr. Stanley, "Line up and we'll see what you can do!"
The team made a line ready to practice their shots on goal. Then they heard Mr. Stanley shouting and waving his arms. His face was red and he sounded really angry.
Hey, you! he shouted at Donna. "Clear off! We don't want any girls getting in the way!"
Donna stared at Mr. Stanley.
Stevie Hamilton said, "But, Sir ... Donna is on the team. She's brilliant!"
NO GIRLS ON MY TEAM!
But that's not fair!
NO BUTS! His face seemed about to explode.
Donna stood at the side of the field and watched her team during training. It started to rain. By half past six it was raining so hard that they had to stop.
Donna walked slowly home in the rain. She felt miserable. She always played for the team. Mr. Jones didn't mind. She had played in all the matches so far. How could she survive without football? It was her life.
The next Saturday was the day of the Big Match. It was Chapel High against Harton House School. The teams were big rivals and Harton House had won the competition last year. At ten minutes to three the football field was lined with people.
The whistle blew. Harton's No.9, Lee Mason, got the ball and sent it flying down the field. A very large boy called Scott Perkins trapped the ball and volleyed it at the net. Warren, the Chapel High goalie , made a brilliant save and it went out for a corner.
The Chapel High defence collected in the box . The whistle blew and the corner shot began. It landed on Lee Mason's head and was headed straight into the back of the net.
One-nil down already. The Harton House spectators cheered and clapped. Donna looked on and felt her heart sinking.
Twenty-five minutes later, during an attack by Harton, Shaun Wilkins fouled Lee Mason in the box, just as he was going to shoot. Lee fell to the ground groaning and moaning but everyone knew he wasn't really hurt. The referee gave a penalty . Scott took the shot and smashed it into the back of the net. Poor Warren didn't even see it! Two-nil down.
Just after half-time, things got worse. Scott tackled Barry Woodhead. Scott's huge boot hit Barry's leg and everyone heard a crunching sound. Barry lay on the ground and couldn't move.
Barry was carried off the field and Scott Perkins got a yellow card. He should have been sent off. Mr. Stanley stood on the pitch and shouted with his red face.
Where are the substitutes?
Sir, there aren't any.
What!! shouted Mr. Stanley. "No more players?"
Well, there is one, said Stevie Hamilton.
Get him here now!
It's Donna. She's over there and dressed in her kit.
Mr. Stanley's eyebrows went blacker and his face went redder.
All right then. As this is an emergency. Go and get her.
Stevie Hamilton ran over to Donna.
Come on! he said. "You're back on the team!"
The whistle blew. She ran up the field on the right wing to take the cross from Stevie then she passed it on to Kevin. They all ran as fast as they could. The ball was running ahead. Kevin passed it back to Donna and she took the shot from outside the penalty box. It flew up into the air and over the head of Harton's goalie and into the back of the net.
Immediately the Chapel fans went mad. They started cheering and clapping as loud as they could.
It was 2:1 now and only ten minutes to go.
The ball went out for a throw-in . Stevie Hamilton threw it in to Kevin Johnson who beat three players and took a shot. It hit the post, bounced back into the penalty area and as the Harton defence scrambled to clear it, Donna put out her toe and put the ball into the net. Hurray! Now they were equal. Two all. And only five minutes to go....
The crowd was making more noise than ever. The Chapel High fans were singing and the Harton House fans were shouting encouragement to their players.
Both teams suddenly found extra energy. There was an attack and then counter-attack.
It was the last minute. Donna got the ball from Stevie Hamilton. Again she faced that big lump Scott Perkins. Donna sent him the wrong way and he was too slow to catch her. She was in the box. There was only the Harton goalie now. She went to strike the shot, but no, she changed her mind and took it with her left foot. The Harton goalie dived the wrong way and Donna smashed the ball into the top left-hand corner.
That was it! A hat trick . Thirty seconds later the final whistle blew. They had won the cup and were winners of the Inter-schools championship!"
Hurray for Donna! they shouted. Donna just grinned. She had never felt so happy.
Mr. Stanley's face went redder and redder. His face had lost its black look and even he was smiling.
Oh, Donna, he said, "don't forget football training on Friday night with the team!"
Donna just smiled and Stevie Hamilton winked at her.