St John Fisher 3 Heckmondwike Grammar 3 a.e.t
St John Fisher win 7-6 on penalties.
Jake Bird proved to be the hero with 2 penalty saves and scoring a penalty himself in a thrilling encounter in the Under 14’s Spen Valley Cup Final.
Bird wasn’t the only player deserving of a mention in a pulsating clash, which could have gone either way. Josh Teale and Tomas Preidys formed the spine of a solid team performance, with Zack Thompson and Callum Pearson pulling the strings in the middle of the park throughout the game. Elliott Rayne was a persistent thorn in Heckmondwike’s side, selflessly sacrificing his own glory for the good of the team, playing as a lone striker, as injuries dictated a change in formation.
The opening 20 minutes was a close encounter before Brad Lay caught the keeper out with a cross-cum-shot which looped into the top corner from the left touchline.
Heckmondwike hit back immediately with the goal of the goal of the game – a 25 yard screamer which Bird could only tip onto the bar. The rebound, unluckily for Bird, hit his back and dropped into the net.
The 2nd half saw the game open up, and Heckmndwike soon took the lead after poor marking from a free kick. This is where the Fishers team really showed their spirit and determination. Thompson and Preidys had to swap roles as Thompson picked up a knock, as did Jack Bottomley and Henry Welford, as the pace of the game began to take its toll.
As Fishers huffed and puffed for an equaliser, it finally came in the form a 20 yard free kick from Callum Pearson, who was beginning to have more and more influence on the game.
Soon after we were 3-2 up as a Pearson corner was met by the smallest player on the pitch, Brad Lay, to head home his second of the game.
It was now time to hang on, but unfortunately, Heckmondwike proved to have too much about them and deservedly equalised with two minutes to go to take the game into extra time.
This mirrored the first 20 minutes of the first half as both teams shut up shop, not wanting to lose the game in extra time. Ethan Stone came on and looked assured at full back – he has made great strides to earn his shirt in this team.
As expected, the penalties were was a nervous affair, with Elliot Rayne nearly knocking the goals out of the ground with his, before Heckmondwike missed their 3rd to level it up. After Lay, Thompson and Pearson had converted theirs, Bottomley added to the drama by failing from 12 yards. Bird once again stepped up and saved the very next penalty, maintaining the level scores. Stone, Welford, Bird and Preidys (with the penalty of the game) all then converted before Bird saved Heckmondwikes 9th penalty to give the trophy to Fishers.
An excellent, hard fought display lads, you were a credit to the school! Well done!