School Sport: Shenfield High seal semi spot
09:00 04 March 2014
Academy squad keep cup hopes alive
Shenfield High School’s academy side booked a semi-final spot in the Youth Conference Alliance National League Cup with a hard fought 2-1 victory over Southampton Sparsholt.
Having beaten highly fancied JMA Reading in the last 16, the team faced another long journey but travelled to Hampshire full of confidence.
The Southampton Sparsholt team boasted a number of players recently released from Southampton’s academy and Shenfield had to be at their best in the opening exchanges to keep the hosts at bay.
But they began to play their own brand of bright, fast-paced attacking football, with Charlie Portway in particular causing problems in an unaccustomed left midfield role.
Shenfield nearly made the breakthrough on 25 minutes when Yosheya Lomotey broke clear and lifted the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper only to be denied by the crossbar.
But Shenfield continued to pepper the home goal and had further chances including a Portway free kick which was smartly saved and a Matt Newman effort which just went over at a corner.
The visitors finally scored just before half time when Lomotey sent a rocket of a shot into the top corner from 25 yards.
And, buoyed by their opening goal, Shenfield started the second half brightly and extended their lead on 51 minutes when Portway’s free kick was cleverly whipped in low and hard and turned in by Sam Duhig at the back post.
Southampton rallied and put Shenfield under pressure for the last 30 minutes, but the visiting defence held out until the 85th minute when Ellis Holiday was beaten from a free kick.
The hosts threw everything at Shenfield, including their six foot five inch goalkeeper into attack for a last-minute corner.
But Shenfield held on to make the long trip home worthwhile and they will host Eastbourne Borough in the last four.
The under-13 girls saw their hopes of National Cup success ended by a 6-1 defeat against Leicestershire’s Thomas Estley Community College in the quarter-finals.
And the under-14s were made to pay for some mistakes as they lost 6-1 to Highworth Grammar, whose young Arsenal striker netted five times.
Chloe Eastwell was praised for her performances in both ties and Shenfield will look to bounce back in the Essex Cup, after the under-13s booked a final place with a 4-0 win over Moulsham.
The elder squad are set to play their Moulsham rivals soon.