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School Sport: Shenfield secure final spot

PUBLISHED: 11:30 20 March 2015

Shenfield's football academy are into a national cup final

Shenfield's football academy are into a national cup final

Archant

Scott strike settles semi-final

Shenfield High School’s football academy reached the Youth Conference Cup National Final after a fine team display to beat Halifax Town.

Having travelled up a day early in order to prepare for the game team morale was extremely high and the boys approached the game in confident mood.

Shenfield started brightly and created early opportunities from the tricky wing play of Joe Cutmore.

The first real chance of the game feel to captain Malaki Toussaint whose late run into the box was found brilliantly by Connor Hogan after good work down the right. But Toussaint’s shot was hit too close to the halifax keeper who saved well.

Halifax offered very little going forward with Shenfield marshalled expertly by centre-backs Ellis Ashworth and John Burgess.

But despite dominating possession, Shenfield couldn’t make the breakthrough and had penalty appeals waved away when Yeshaya Lomotey was pulled back in the box.

The visitors maintained their focus and discipline, though, and created one last chance before the first half ended as Hogan beat his man down the right and crossed for Cutmore, who was just off-target from six yards.

Shenfield were still in positive spirits after the restart and had fresh impetus on the right as Lewis Scott came on, with Hogan moving inside.

Pushed forward by the desire of midfield general Liam Smith, Shenfield created yet more chances through Lomotey and the ever dangerous Cutmore.

Full-back Callum Hubble and Henri Okosi started to get forward as Halifax tired and the decisive moment came on 65 minutes when Cutmore danced into the area and pulled the ball back to an unmarked Scott who made no mistake with a neat finish.

Further chances came when Lomotey beat his marker and fired over and Smith pulled a shot wide from inside the box.

But Halifax offered little in response and Shenfield recorded a famous victory to set up a final meeting with Gateshead.

They have already eliminated Southampton, Corinthians, Eastleigh and Dartford in a competition that sees over 150 of the best football academy teams in the country striving to reach the final.

A very proud head coach Mr Fenton said: “Credit goes to everyone involved with the Shenfield Football Academy. The back four did not allow Halifax a single shot from inside the box.

“We are proud of them all and excited for the opportunity of playing in a national final in the weeks ahead.”

*Shenfield High’s under-14 girls just missed out on a national cup final place of their own this week.

They suffered a 2-1 extra-time defeat in their semi-final against the defending champions, for whom England international Libby Smith netted twice.

Shannan Drewe netted Shenfield’s goal in reply.


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