Under 11s crowned champions in Southern Counties League Cup tournament
- Credit: Stevenage & District Primary Schools
The Stevenage U11 District football team have been crowned champions at the Southern Counties League Cup tournament held in Woking, Surrey over the weekend.
The event began last October with 21 teams and over 250 young footballers hoping to be successful and, after a series of regional hub events, the Stevenage side made it to finals day where they would be joined by teams from Plymouth, Gloucester, Basingstoke, Wokingham, Dacorum and two sides representing Swansea, giving the event an international flavour.
With a number of talented academy footballers representing their District sides the quality was high, and in the group stages the Hertfordshire side were paired with Wokingham, Swansea Whites and Gloucester.
Stevenage - sporting a new yellow and blue away kit recently donated by locally-based company Premier Drainage Services - were quick off the mark in the opening group game against an impressive Wokingham, and they scored early thanks to a lovely control and volley from Blake McTigue that sailed over the goalkeeper's head. They had to work hard to protect that lead but came away with three points.
Next up was a dangerous Swansea Whites side. Both sides had chances before Alfie Robinson dribbled into the box and smashed the ball home to make it 1-0. Orryn Drackford made a string of good saves to keep Stevenage ahead and secure a 1-0 victory that left them top of their group.
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The final group game saw them facing a resilient Gloucester side who needed a win to progress, but Stevenage once again took the lead when Robinson and Muno Mashonganyika combined in the box for the former to stroke the ball home. Gloucester then fought back and equalised, but the draw was enough for the Hertfordshire side to finish top of their group.
The semi-finals saw Stevenage face Swansea Blacks, and they took the lead with another goal from Blake McTigue. In a frantic three-minute spell, Swansea equalied before Robinson won and scored a penalty to put the Herts side back in front, hold onto a 2-1 win to set up the final with Wokingham.
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Stevenage had the better chances but the game finished 0-0, but have beaten Wokingham in the group stage, the organisers presented the goal medals to Stevenage, crowning them champions.