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Extra-time success for Shenfield High sixth-formers

PUBLISHED: 18:30 17 May 2016

Shenfield High School celebrate their latest Essex Schools' success (pic: essexfa.com)

Shenfield High School celebrate their latest Essex Schools' success (pic: essexfa.com)

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Braintree Sixth Form 3 Shenfield High School 4

Shenfield High School added the Under-19 3rd XI Trophy to their impressive haul of Essex Schools’ FA silverware with an extra-time triumph over Braintree Sixth Form College.

Shenfield led the Brentwood Centre Arena contest 2-0 and 3-1 before a late brace from Braintree’s Matthew Bennett sent the clash into an additional 20 minutes. However, Shenfield teacher Lee Thomas was happy Harry Joiner’s 101st-minute finish saw them over the line.

“It was a bit frustrating,” he said. “We made hard work of it, but we’re pleased to get the win. We went 2-0 up and 3-1 up and I thought it was going to be comfortable, but we allowed them to sneak back into it and big Harry Joiner stepped up with the winner in extra time.”

For much of the opening period it appeared that Shenfield would enjoy a comfortable evening as, apart for a mis-hit Jamie Little effort into goalkeeper Ben Hughes’ gloves, they held a monopoly on the chances, beginning with Harry Rawlins in the 10th minute who drilled a shot across the face of goal after getting the better of his marker.

Rawlins then directed a diving header over the crossbar from a right-wing George Dunn cross, and Tom Cassinos forced custodian Alfie Long to push his long-range effort onto the woodwork on the half-hour mark.

Mike Lindsay’s follow-up was also clawed off the line by Long, who was finally beaten two minutes before half time when Rawlins was brought down and Ryan Robinson converted the resultant penalty.

“I thought we forced the ball a little bit too much and we should’ve been a little bit more patient to create some more chances,” said Thomas, assessing Shenfield’s first-half display.

“We had lots of possession, but the final ball in the final third wasn’t as good as it could be. Once we got the second goal we relaxed more, but a lapse in concentration allowed them back into it.”

The second goal arrived on 63 minutes when Marc Carter led an incisive break, rolling the ball into the path of Charlie Jacobs, who arrowed his shot beneath Long to double the advantage.

Despite Bennett firing at Hughes, Shenfield could’ve extended their lead still further in the 76th minute when another well-struck Cassinos strike was saved impressively by Long.

Instead, three minutes later, Braintree gave themselves a lifeline through Little, who side-footed a right-wing centre into the bottom left-hand corner of the net to halve the arrears.

The goal instigated a frenetic final 10 minutes of normal time and Shenfield restored their two-goal cushion moments later.

Again Carter was the provider, with his beautifully-judged pass giving Jacobs the chance to double his personal tally by slamming an unstoppable shot beyond Long and inside the left-hand upright.

But Braintree hit back five minutes later when, with the ball bouncing around on the edge of the penalty area, Bennett finally took control of the situation, bringing it under control before hooking it into the top right-hand corner from 20 yards out.

Then, two minutes into stoppage time, Braintree equalised when Hughes sent a goal kick straight to the feet of Bennett, who still had work to do some 30 yards from goal.

Bennett advanced a few paces and picked his spot in the top right-hand corner to send the final into extra time.

“I think that’s the psychology of sport; we switched off a little bit when we were coasting at 3-1,” said Thomas, who also paid tribute to Shenfield’s opponents.

“The game was over and it had gone really flat, but we allowed them to sneak back into it. That happens.

“They [Braintree] stuck together as a team and as a group. They were a tight unit and they never gave up. They gave it a good go, and I thought they were going to nick it at one point, but a little bit of our quality showed in the end.”

There were no clear-cut chances in the first period of extra time, but the decisive moment arrived within a minute of the restart.

There didn’t appear to be much danger as Joiner picked up possession 25 yards out, but he arrowed a shot through a sea of bodies and into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

Josh Boxall was prevented from adding to the scoreline in the final minute when Long beat away his attempt, but Thomas was pleased to partially banish the memories of a Bryon Coomer Trophy defeat for another of his teams against Rushcroft earlier in the afternoon.

“This was the second of three county finals, so to get on the board in the second one was good,” he said.

“It was nice to win this one. It’s nice for these boys to finish after seven years. I’ve seen them come through and it’s a good way to finish their time in schools’ football. Most of them are upper sixth, so it’s their last game for Shenfield.

“We’ve got Rushcroft again on Wednesday at Wadham Lodge. It’s a different group of boys, but it’s a good opportunity to go out there against Rushcroft and we’re looking forward to it.

“To reach three finals is brilliant. It’s testament to all the staff, parents and students that put in all the hard work into making these days possible. They’re doing fantastically, and long may it continue.”

Shenfield High School: Ben Hughes, George Dunn, Alistair Carter, Sam Wood, Matt Bovill, Harry Joiner, Josh Boxall, Sam Groom, Charlie Jacobs, Marc Carter, Harry Rawlins, Connor Sutton, Tom Mann, Mitchell Prue, Tom Cassinos, Mike Lindsay, Ryan Robinson, Teddy Geddis.

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