School Sport: Marshalls Park win Havering Cup after shoot-out drama
PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 May 2017
Marshalls Park 0 Emerson Park 0 (aet, 4-3 pens)
Marshalls Park’s year 11 boys overcame the odds to beat Emerson Park Academy on penalties and lift the Havering Schools’ Cup at Hornchurch Stadium.
In a game of very few clear-cut chances, the cagey affair boiled down to the lottery of a shoot-out, one which ultimately favoured Paul Aylett’s boys.
Emerson’s excellent track record of four back-to-back Havering titles, alongside beating Marshalls Park 5-2 in the group stages of the competition, made them the clear favourites going into the tie, with many believing another triumph might be a foregone conclusion.
Nick Reynolds’ side settled the quicker of the two teams, as you would expect in their fifth appearance at the home ground of Isthmian League side Hornchurch, and their first chance came from some indecisive play from Marshalls goalkeeper Javier Paguirigan.
As Paguirigan stuttered towards an oncoming back pass, he had the ball pinched at his feet by Tom Troubridge, but the striker had no support and his ball back across goal was swept clear.
The friends and families in the stands would have to wait until late in the first half for the next opportunity, as Billy Reed’s driving run past three midfielders allowed him to play a ball through to Sam Bickmore.
But the ball bobbled on the uneven surface at the wrong moment and Bickmore’s shot flew high and wide of the goal.
At the half-time whistle, the game seemed to lack any real cutting edge from either side, with Emerson having the majority of the ball yet left wanting for some incisive creativity or finishing in the final third.
The second half started with more of a spark from the boys in blue, as Emerson’s Brad Rowland first had a shot palmed away by Marshalls’ Spanish goalkeeper, and then turned provider with an inch-perfect ball to the head of Troubridge but he nodded his effort just wide of goal.
Despite Emerson’s more direct start to the half, Marshalls would be the ones to find themselves with the ball in the back of the net, however Dan Moulden’s finish was correctly ruled offside by the linesman.
The rest of the second half was once again lacking finishing prowess from either side, as Emerson were playing balls beyond the Marshalls back four but to no avail.
Extra-time was a single 10-minute period and proved the cagiest spell of the entire game, notable only for a succession of Marshalls corners.
The set-pieces did not produce any clear chances, though, and as penalties loomed on the two sides, the tension was clearly evident.
Andrew Flint of Marshalls and Troubridge of Emerson missed their respective spot-kicks, before Henry Fisher cooly finished from 12 yards.
After Bernado Rosa’s drilled penalty into the top corner, Charlie Munns was the man with the misfortune to have his penalty saved, meaning Marshalls walked away with the silverware much to the delight of their supporters and teacher Aylett.