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U18's Cup Final

Last Updated: May 13, 2014 07:49am
Crowle, Wychavon
By Colin Mortiboys
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Our U18 Cup Final took place at The Spiers & Hartwell Jubilee Stadium, home of Evesham United FC, on Wednesday 7th May 2014.

It was a fitting finale to our U18 matches that this seasons League winners, Inkberrow Eagles faced League Runners-up, Evesham United Colts. On paper, many observers predicted a convincing win for the Eagles, but any cup final is usually a good leveller, especially when Evesham had also enjoyed a successful season and were eager to avenge their two league defeats to Inkberrow.

In what can only be described as blustery conditions, the swirling wind made it extremely difficult throughout the match for both teams find the quality of play that they normally display.

The opening 25-minutes saw Evesham having more of the ball but with the award of three free-kicks in their opponents half, they were unable to carve out any significant goal scoring opportunities as the Inkberrow defence coped with the high deliveries with relative ease.  

On 28-minutes a long clearance out of the Inkberrow defence saw Evesham's back line stretched and with the ball holding up in the wind, there was some hesitancy from the Evesham goalkeeper in coming out to clear the ball just outside of his area. This allowed an Inkberrow player who had escaped the attentions of his marker the space to close down on the ball and slot a neat finish under the Evesham goalkeeper and into the right hand corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.  It got worse for Evesham as 5-minutes later a mistimed challenge in the box saw the award of a penalty-kick to Inkberrow and the spot kick was despatched soundly for a 2-0 score at half-time.

The 2nd half was only a few minutes old when the first Inkberrow attack caused some major hesitancy  in the Evesham defence and an Inkberrow played took advantage of the situation to claim a 3rd goal for the Eagles, with two goals for Harry Clarke & one from Connor Perry-Holmes.

 It would have been easy for Evesham to have dropped their heads and possibly concede further goals but the team rolled their sleeves up and set about trying to get back in the match.  Their commitment was rewarded 25-minutes into the 2nd half when an excellently delivered corner-kick had the wind with it and the ball eluded everyone in the Inkberrow box and went straight into the net to bring the score back to 1-3.

The temperature of the game rose dramatically, with the referees yellow card making several appearances.  With the wind in their favour, Evesham changed their tactics and committed more players forward.

While at constant risk of the counter-attack, Evesham were now finding more of the ball and with 20-minutes left they thought they had made another breakthrough with a smart shot through a crowd of players but the Inkberrow goalkeeper produced an excellent dive to his right and captured the ball right on the goal-line. Inkberrow no doubt breathed a big sigh of relief but with the pressure on their goal mounting, the Eagles defence was in for a torrid end to the match. With just four minutes remaining of normal time, Evesham made a further breakthrough, after a goal mouth scramble got the score back to 2-3 and with four minutes added time, could Evesham force the game into extra-time?  They certainly tried as Inkberrow now had 10 players behind the ball in attempt to park the bus and see out the game. The change of defensive shape certainly worked as Inkberrow ensured there were no further opportunities to tie the match and the Eagles team welcomed the sound of the final whistle.

Although the difficult weather conditions were a challenge, the crowd were treated to an excellent final with plenty of passion & endeavour from both sets of players.

Congratulations to Inkberrow Eagles who have achieved a League & Cup double.