Shenfield High School

The Shenfield High School Football Academy reached the Youth Conference Cup National Final after a fine team display to triumph 1-0 over Halifax Town. Having travelled up on Tuesday evening in order to prepare for the game team moral 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. 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 half pairing of Ellis Ashworth and John Burgess.  Despite dominating possession, Shenfield couldn't make the breakthrough and continued to press.  They should have been awarded a clear cut penalty when Yeshaya Lomotey was clearly tugged back as he was about to shoot into an empty net.  Despite this set back and in the face of some very aggressive tackling from the opposition the Shenfield team maintained their focus and discipline and created one last chance before the first half ended. Connor Hogan beat his man down the right and crossed for Cutmore who could not convert from inside the six yard box and the ball rolled away agonisingly. Half time came and the team were still in positive spirits and believed they could win and now had fresh impetus on the right as Lewis Scott came on and a reshuffle saw Hogan move 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 the Halifax team tired. Then came the moment that settled the tie on 65 mins, when Cutmore danced into the penalty area and pulled the ball back to an unmarked Lewis Scott who made no mistake with a neat finish. 

A well worked and well deserved lead. Further chances came when Lomotey beat his marker and fired over and Smith pulled wide from inside the box. Despite being a goal down Halifax offered little in the way of a response and Shenfield went on to record a famous victory. The team will now play Gateshead FC in the final and will work to finish the job after this remarkable season and cup run, which has seen them eliminate Southampton, Corinthians, Eastleigh, Dartford and now Halifax in a competition that sees over 150 of the best football academy teams in the country striving to reach the final. This achievement is testament to the hard work, commitment and effort that the boys have shown over the season. A very proud head coach Mr Fenton had this to say about the game, "Lewis the hero does it again with a fine finish, but credit goes to everyone involved with the Shenfield Football Academy. The back four today, for example, 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."

 

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