School Sport: Shoot-out heartache for Saints
PUBLISHED: 12:22 30 March 2012
Hutton pupils edged out in National final
St Martin’s 1 West Derby 1
(West Derby won 4-2 on penalties)
St Martin’s suffered the worst of all defeats as they were beaten in a penalty shoot-out after a nail biting National Under-16 Cup final at Burton Albion.
The game was played in glorious sunshine at the Pirelli Stadium, with Saints in confident mood after their recent semi-final victory against Newcastle’s St Cuthberts.
The squad had travelled up to the Midlands on Sunday, watching the Premier League encounter between West Brom and Newcastle at The Hawthorns.
And Saints started exceptionally well against Liverpool’s West Derby, who had beaten Shenfield High in their semi-final.
Only two minutes had been played when Tom Lapslie found himself baring down on goal, only for the West Derby keeper to make a good save.
The only other notable chance of the first half was a snap shot from 30 yards, which rattled the Saints crossbar.
Some good inter-play between Jason White and Daniel Elliott resulted in the latter being fouled on the edge of the area, in what would have been a great opportunity to score.
And at half-time the message from Saints coach Dean Twist was clear, maintain their shorter passing game in order to retain possession.
West Derby broke the deadlock after the restart, when a 25-yard effort flew into the top corner.
But resilient Saints hit back when a move on the left saw Austen Whittle square the ball to Lapslie, who was brought down in the box as he turned to shoot.
Lapslie got up and rolled in the spot-kick to level with 15 minutes to go but injuries were beginning to mount up and clear-cut chances were few and far between.
Keeper James Southgate was only called upon to save some well-struck long-range efforts and both teams started to struggle with fatigue in extra time.
Both had chances to win in the last minute of extra time, but Saints saw Ellis Ashworth’s header from a corner glance past the post before Southgate made a good save as the whistle went.
Saints had won a shoot-out in the last 16, but the West Derby keeper made an outstanding save to keep out their first pnealty from captain Matt Dicks.
Lapslie and Rhys Payne converted, but a miss by Callum Boath gave West Derby the chance to win it from their fifth and final penalty, which they duly did.
Head of boys PE Paul Larner was full of praise for Saints, saying: “They’re an outstanding group of pupils and their school, parents and staff are incredibly proud that they made it to the final of the biggest schools competition in the country.
“Although there is little anyone can say to take away the disappointment I hope that when they reflect on it they will realise the magnitude of what they have achieved.
“They should be proud of their efforts. They could have done no more during the game and in all the previous games this year.”
Lapslie, a key player throughout the campaign, leaves this summer to join Colchester’s Academy for the next two years but many of the boys will be staying on into sixth form hoping for another cup run next year.