School Sport: Cup cheer for Shenfield High boys
15:00 05 May 2014
Essex Cup: Shenfield High 1 St Martin’s 0
Shenfield High School’s under-16 boys capped an excellent five years of commitment to school football by winning the Essex Cup title.
And their success was even more memorable as it came against local rivals St Martins at Brentwood Arena.
Having battled through five rounds of fiercely competitive action to make the showpiece occasion Shenfield went into the game in confident mood.
The local rivals had met 11 times in four years and the game started at a ferocious pace in front of a bumper crowd.
The scoreline remained blank thanks to excellent work by the impressive centre-back pairing of Sam Wood and Tom Cassinos, who marshalled the Shenfield defence all night.
And Shenfield kept their discipline throughout as Saints enjoyed more possession but were restricted to speculative long-range efforts.
The blistering pace of Charlie Jacobs was causing problems for the Saints rearguard, who struggled to deal with his direct powerful runs.
And the game was decided in the 28th minute by a piece of individual brilliance from Jacobs who picked up the ball on the halfway line and drove straight at the heart of the St Martins defence, skipping past three players before calmly placing his shot into corner of the net.
Midfielders Sam Groom, Robbie Gould and captain Aidan Egalton worked tirelessly to deny Saints a reply before the break, as keeper James Alborough dealt with any aerial threats in his box, by punching away crosses.
Saints rallied after the restart but again found the Shenfield defence too tough to break down and it was Shenfield who looked the most likely to score.
Jacobs broke away on the right to cross for Marc Carter whose excellent first touch set him for a shot that he fired just over.
Then another amazing run from Jacobs led to a fine save from the Saints goalkeeper who got down well to deny Shenfield a second goal.
Saints continued to press in search of an equaliser but excellent defending from George Dunn, Sam Head and Sean Clarke-Davis prevented them from creating any goalscoring opportunities.
There was still time for one final run from Jacobs who left the Saints defence for dead again to narrowly fire over.
A late flurry of long balls into the box was dealt with superbly by Wood and Cassinos and Shenfield held on for a famous win to the lift the Alan Child Trophy.
Lee Thomas, director of Shenfield’s football academy, said: “Having never progressed further than the last 16 before in this competition I always preached to the boys from year seven that if we kept working hard at our football we would develop by year 11.
“I am proud to have seen these young men develop over five years and they truly deserve the result. This is testament to the progress the team have made and shows what hard work and commitment can achieve.”
The boys will now look forward to celebrating this success at the Shenfield Sports Awards Evening on May 14.