theFDC – Field of Dreams - 07.02.20 KO 7:30pm
Final Score: Norfolk U18’s 2 – 1 Essex U18’s
Norfolk reach this year’s FA County Youth Cup Final by beating Essex thanks to two quickfire goals in the first half.
Essex started the stronger of the two sides and came very close to taking the lead early on. Norfolk goalkeeper, Reuben Lane, came to his team’s rescue with a smart reaction save down to his right after the ball was fired at goal from close range.
Although Norfolk were dominating possession, neither side created any meaningful chances until the deadlock was broken in the 32nd minute when Tom Baird converted a penalty as he hit the ball into the bottom left corner from 12 yards out. Norfolk won the penalty thanks to some great work on the right flank from Lagshan Sivakumar as he skillfully beat his man and stood a cross up to the far post where Fletcher Dyson was fouled.
Norfolk doubled their lead less than two minutes later after Tom Pipe latched onto an excellent through ball from the left-hand side by Dyson and drilled a low cross to the front post. Norfolk number 9, Ethan Warne, was first to react and confidentially stroked the ball past the on-rushing goalkeeper.
Half Time – Norfolk U18’s 2-0 Essex U18’s
Not long into the Second Half, Norfolk were forced into making their first change as Sivakumar was injured and was replaced by Brady Philpott.
Lane was tested from distance as a volley from 30 yards out required a good save. With an hour played, Essex squandered a great chance after their frontman was unable to convert a low cross from the right after Norfolk’s defence had uncharacteristically switched off. This was a real let off for the Norfolk back line who had overall limited Essex to shots from long distance.
Norfolk made two more changes as Tom Baird was replaced by Evan Perry and Ethan Warne for Jorge Pascoal.
The visiting side scored their only goal of the game from a corner when Essex captain, Tom Duffy, directed a header goalward from close range leaving Reuben Lane no chance in the Norfolk net.
Essex pushed forward in the final 10 minutes but were unable to create any meaningful chances to trouble Lane. Norfolk Centre halves, Aaron Rich and Joe Bennett, were winning all the aerial battles when the ball was directed into the Norfolk box on numerous occasions. With all Norfolk players working tirelessly deep into stoppage time, they were able to hold onto their slender lead and reach their third FA County Youth Cup Final in as many Seasons.
Norfolk will now play away against Sussex U18’s in the Final of The FA County Youth Cup with the Final with the date and venue yet to be confirmed.
Final Score: Norfolk U18’s 2-1 Essex U18’s
Norfolk U18’s: Reuben lane, Max lane, Charlie Dickerson ©, Ollie Whittaker, Aaron Rich, Joe Bennett, Lagshan Sivakumar, Tom Baird, Ethan Warne, Fletcher Dyson and Tom Pipe.
Subs: Jorge Pascoal, Spencer Cawcutt, Brady Philpott, Evan Perry and Ollie Roberts.
Essex U18’s: Jack Allen, Archie McFadden, Jimi Reynolds, Ben Search, Tom Duffy ©, James Hegarty, Rashaad Ogun, Jess Norey, Callum Newson, Teejay Chiororo and Obi Molefi.
Subs: Ben Steward, Charlie Page, Sonny Dutton, Dan Hawkes and Liam Oliver.
Referee: Callum Walchester
Assistants: Jordan Sandwell and Andrew Gray
Fourth Official: Thomas Hancock
Player of the Match: Joe Bennett – Norfolk U18’s
Norfolk FA would like to thank Chaplin Farrant for being the Official Squad Sponsor of the Norfolk Under 18 Representative Squad.