Warden Park Academy’s U15 Boys football team have progressed to the Sussex FA County Cup Final after a fantastic Semi Final vs Hove Park.
The Semi Final was played at Hove Park and on a very difficult, muddy and bobbly surface that did not make it easy for an excellent passing side.
The boys were confident, however of winning the match and reaching their first Sussex Final. This season has been a tremendous one for this group of players, and is a direct result of winning the Mid Sussex District Cup last season.
Having already played and beaten some excellent schools, the real turning point of this campaign was beating the holders, last year’s Champions Steyning 8-1, in an awesome display.
Their rewards for knocking out the holders, Warden Park were then drawn against a team that had knocked Steyning out of the ESFA National Cup match Shoreham Academy. This was a truly exciting match for the neutrals but not so much for the coaches and players involved.
With strong winds against the Warden Park team, they did remarkably well just to come off at half time 0-2 down. In the 2nd half, Mr. Corke made an early change in personal, and 2 quick goals followed to level the match at 2-2. In their first attack of the 2nd half, Shoreham then took the lead with a scrappy 3rd goal. Warden Park’s left back Jamie then scored an excellent equaliser curling the ball from 25 yards in the bottom corner. The game was now 3-3 with minutes to go.
Jamie’s goal however was not the goal of the game, which was saved for Alfie and the winning goal with 30 seconds to spare. Picking the ball up on the half way line, he drove the ball to his right, ghosting past 3 players. From 30 yards out he then blasted a shot that flew into the top corner. Chaos in celebration as all outfield players, goalkeeper and subs mobbed Alfie.
The Semi Final vs Hove Park was a Warden Park 5-2 victory, however the score line does not reflect the game. Once again the Park team showed great character to come back from 1-0 down after conceding from a corner midway through the first half. Despite having the best and more chances the half time score remained 1-0.
Patience was the word of the day from Mr. Corke and once again an early substitution paid off 10 minutes into the second half. Olly came off the bench to grab an assist and a goal within 5 minutes of coming on to change the game to a 2-1 lead for Park. Shoreham were given a lifeline 5 minutes from time when they were rewarded a penalty in which was converted to level 2-2. The game went into extra time. Again patience was the key. After extra time Warden park ran out 5-2 winners, with fitness also being a key part of the win. Olly had bagged another 2 goals to complete his hat-trick.
The Sussex Count Final will be played between Warden Park and Hazelwick.
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