St Martins march into national final
PUBLISHED: 12:43 14 March 2012
Shenfield High miss out after extra time
St Martin’s Hutton booked their place in the final of the National Schools Under-16 Cup with an extra time win yesterday, but rivals Shenfield High missed out in their semi-final.
Beaten at this stage a year ago, Saints came under early pressure against Newcastle’s St Cuthberts and were pinned in their own half for most of the opening quarter of an hour.
Captain Matt Dicks rallied his troops, though, and Tom Lapslie fired a chance wide before combining with Austen Whittle five minutes before the break to set up Daniel Elliott, who stabbed home a left-footed shot from close range.
Saints joy was shortlived, however, as their rivals got back on terms almost immediately following a long throw-in and it got worse as they found themselves behind early in the second half.
It looked like history would repeat itself, as Saints had lost 2-1 a year earlier after taking a first-half lead.
But they showed their resilience and Lapslie found space to drill home an equaliser after a superb move involving substitutes Richard Banham and Callum Booth.
Lapslie went close to a winner with 10 minutes remaining, forcing a fine save from the Cuthberts keeper.
But Saints got their noses in front in extra time when Dicks played the ball through to the hard-working Whittle, who rounded the keeper and rolled his shot in off a post from a tight angle.
James Innocent and Ellis Ashworth held firm in the Saints defence as their rivals piled on the pressure in the closing stages to book a meeting with Liverpool’s West Derby School, who beat Shenfield High by the same 3-2 margin after extra time in their clash.
The final is at Burton’s Pirelli Stadium on March 26 and St Martin’s have never won a national title in their history.
Head of boys PE Paul Larner said: “Each of the players produced a huge effort against a physically strong side and to come back from 2-1 down shows they have what is required mentally to win the competition.
“After nine rounds, the boys can look forward to a prestigious final. It’s nice to see them get to the final. They deserve it this year after going so close last year.”
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