Hampton’s U13A footballers have been crowned English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) Champions after victory against Chesterfield High School in the U13 Schools’ Cup Final.
Having progressed through nine rounds of the competition involving 630 teams from across the country, the Second Year Hamptonians travelled to The Hawthorns, the home of West Bromwich Albion Football Club, to battle it out against Chesterfield High School in a bid to lift the prestigious ESFA trophy.
The match began at a fast pace, with Chesterfield starting the stronger team playing some great football and looking a well organised side. However, the Hampton players ensured they remained composed and the back four dealt with everything thrown their way. After 11 minutes, Freddie Thwaite played a great long ball and Rio Felonov-Tzanev ran through to finish calmly and give Hampton the lead. The rest of the half called upon defensive resolution from Hampton and the young footballers manged to restrict Chesterfield to some dangerous but speculative long shots.
Chesterfield equalised early in the second half after a great cross and a goalmouth scramble. The rest of the half remained a tense affair, with Hampton playing more of the passing, flowing football that we’re used to. The Hamptonians could have scored a winner with a couple of late chances but, as feared, the match would end with penalties.
Penalties had been practised during recent training sessions and a number of the boys stepped forward to take a spot kick. In the end, Hampton came out the victors 5-3 with all five penalty takers scoring. Goalkeeper Seb Rautenberg pulled off a great save from the Chesterfield High number 9, leaving Felix Burt to score the winning penalty, which sparked pandemonium in the stands from the watching parents and cheers back at Hampton from all the virtual viewers.
Director of Football, Mr David Burke, congratulated the young footballers on their fantastic achievement:
Hampton footballers never cease to astound me with their never give up attitude. This group have come through TEN rounds to win the ESFA CUP. Most teams they played on the way to The final had up to three players from professional football academies.
However by working hard as a team, sticking to their game plan and having a desire to learn about the game, the U13A Team have deservedly won the ESFA tournament. A fantastic achievement of which we are all very proud.
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