School Sport: Spot-on Royal Liberty lift Havering Cup
PUBLISHED: 13:00 10 May 2017
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Royal Liberty 0 Redden Court 0 (4-3 pens)
Royal Liberty’s year 10s upset the odds as they beat a strong Redden Court side 4-3 on penalties to win the Havering Schools Cup at Hornchurch Stadium on Tuesday.
Despite many going into the game expecting Redden Court to cruise to victory against the all-boys school, James Lickford’s penalty miss meant that Andrew Prigg’s side would be the ones to lift the silverware at the end of the year.
Going into the game, Ashleigh Gilligan and Tom Hughes’ Redden Court side’s previous form against Royal Liberty pointed towards an easy win for them, as they have beat the boys in blue and yellow three times in their last three meetings.
But the first chance of the final, despite Redden Court’s early pressure, fell in fact to Liberty, where a driving run from Paywandi Muhamadi ended with a shot which was palmed wide by goalkeeper Torez Polius.
However, Liberty would not have to wait long for their first opening, as a corner was whipped deep and Ryan Baines’ header back across goal would have gone in had it not been for a looping clearance away from danger.
Polius was called into action again soon after, saving once more from Muhamadi who had cut inside from the left and struck the ball low to his right.
But each side would have to wait until late in the first half for their next chances, where Muhamadi would fizz a low cross across the box, only for Jack Wilkinson to do the same at the other end, neither with any team-mates at the end of their respective deliveries.
After a tentative first half, the second period opened with a horde of Redden Court students descending on the Colin McBride stand, which seemed to lift their players as both Tommy Byford and James Lickford tried to spark some urgency with driving runs carrying their side forward.
But despite their fans cheering them on, Redden Court‘ keeper Polius was almost at hand at putting his side behind, as a skewed clearance from Frankie Camden landed at the feet of the goalkeeper, and his decision not to pick it up and instead try and play the ball out from his feet had the fan’s hearts in their mouths.
Polius was quick to redeem himself, however, as a cleared Redden Court corner was chased down and taken forward by the tenacious Muhamadi, and his one-on-one with the goalkeeper was saved with his feet down to his left.
The continuing battle between the striker and the keeper went on as this time a reverse ball from Luke Woodruff was picked up on the left side of the six-yard box by Muhamadi, but the keeper was there again to deny him.
The final few minutes of the match saw Redden Court begin to turn the screw in attack, as Liberty conceded corner after corner.
And the defending became progressively scrappier when dealing with the Court pressure, kicking up the sand inside the box as they desperately tried to get the ball up to Muhamadi.
Two more goalmouth scrambles followed, both of which were unsuccessful for Redden Court, before the final whistle blew, sending the tie straight to penalties.
After electing to go first, Royal Liberty opened the scoring, which was followed by Court’s Mitchell Richardson and Liberty’s Woodruff missing the following penalties.
Court scored again to even it up and the following six penalties were also scored, until James Lickford placed his penalty down the middle and saw it saved by Joshua Disley, sparking celebrations among the Royal Liberty parents, players and the staff, none of whom were expecting such a result.
Redden Court: Torez Polius, Frankie Camden, Tommy Byford, Ryan Baines, AJ Jordan, Mason Everitt, Mitchell Richardson, Billy Colthurst, Jack Wilkinson, James Lickford, Kai Curran. Subs: Lewis Moore, Ben Elliot, Ewan Sargood, Ethan Kelly, Donovan Wright.
Royal Liberty: Joshua Disley, Harry Tuvey, Eze Uzuka, Sonny Watts, Lachlan McCabe, Bradley Windebank, Louie Lambert, Owen Eyles, Vlad Guzan, Luke Woodruff, Paywandi Muhamadi. Subs: Dylan Edwards, Kian McEvoy, Salvatore Smith, George Bulmer.