QUAKERS THROUGH TO DURHAM COUNTY FA SEMI-FINAL THANKS TO ELLEN’S WINNING PENALTY STRIKE AND SAVE!
Ellen Atkinson, in Year 13, has been a goalkeeper since she was four-years-old and her experience and devotion to football paid off in dividends in her most recent game for Darlington FC Women’s team. Neck and neck at 3-3, the game against Consett went to sudden-death penalties. It was a very close call but Ellen not only scored the fifth penalty but then put her gloves back on, returned to the goal to make the match-winning save to put the Quakers through 5:4 on penalties to the semi-finals of the County FA Women’s Cup.
Manager Shaun MacKenzie said: “Ellen volunteered to take a penalty — we know she can put them away as she does that in training. She was going to be in the first five, but we decided to put her sixth just in case — and that’s how it worked out.”
Headgirl Ellen started playing football for a mixed team for the Two Dales Football Club in Reeth when she started school, playing in matches across Richmondshire and Wensleydale. She left the club to join Bedale Bluebirds, the girls’ team at Bedale Football Club, when she was 13 and played in a local league in North Yorkshire for their U13 to U16 teams. After playing for Darlington Spaire FC’s Under 18 team, Ellen moved to Darlington Quakers A team in September 2021 as their reserve goalkeeper, becoming their first gamekeeper in September 2022. The team plays in the Durham Ladies League and recently competed in the Vitality FA cup, getting through the first three rounds.
Ellen is a keen athlete and demonstrates a huge passion and talent for football. After excelling in GCSE PE, Ellen opted to specialise in Sport and is studying Triple CTEC Sport. She is highly regarded in school and college for her dedication to Sport and how she encourages and motivates her peers and younger students to take part in different physical activities and team sports. She regularly leads at sporting events, including the primary transition visits such as football and athletics.
Ellen said: “I have always enjoyed the thrill of being a goalkeeper and being under pressure – in fact, I perform better under pressure! I have really enjoyed playing for all the teams over the years, and it’s been privilege to be selected as Darlington Quakers’ A-team’s first goalkeeper. I sort of fell in to being a goalkeeper, it was my first position when I was four playing at Reeth and I’ve stayed there ever since! I am intending to go to university to study Paramedic Science so I will be sad to leave the Quakers but I hope to join another squad at university.”
Miss Abbey, Lead Teacher for PE, said: “Ellen is an outstanding goalkeeper! She has committed many years of training to develop her skills and work her way to first choice goalkeeper for Darlington. Saving a penalty and then turning around and scoring the winning penalty against another goalkeeper not only reflects her versatility as a player but also her mental strength to succeed under such pressure.”
You can read the Quakers’ full match report here.
The draw has been made for the semi-finals of the Durham County FA Women’s County Cup and Darlington FC Women’s team will play Chester Le Street Town Ladies FC away on Sunday, 19th February.
(Photo credits – Darlington F.C Women and Girls Football)