After reaching the Ipswich and South Suffolk Cup final with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Westbourne Academy, the Year 7 Boys Football Team faced a strong Kesgrave High School team in the final, hosted by Copleston High School. In their first cup final as a newly formed team this season, it was brilliant to see a high level of support from the boys’ families – cheering them on.
After winning the coin toss, the Academy team decided to kick off but were put under pressure almost immediately by a strong Kesgrave team. Very early on it was clear that the main battle was going to be between the two centre halves and how they coped with quick attacking moves.
Jak Morley and Robert McKenna played very well in defence as a pair communicating and dealing with many attacks from Kesgrave with few mistakes. Robert has the potential of making an excellent defender reading the game well and picking off players 1 on 1 before they were able to release the ball.
Finn Sheppard played solidly at centre half continuously battling with his opponent who also had a strong game. Finn showed his strength by ensuring he supported the defence or attacking players throughout the game.
Although Kesgrave applied plenty of pressure and enjoyed a lot of the possession throughout the first half, there weren’t any convincing shots on goal and the Academy team played brilliantly.
At half-time the boys were in high spirits, but they knew that they had to maintain discipline in order not to give any free kicks away. They knew that Kesgrave were going to apply plenty of pressure through the second half but our Academy students believed that if they remained strong they could wear down the opposition first.
Changes were made at half time to change Alex Fawkes at left back for Harrison Ward. Alex played a very reliable first half, dealing with the attacks down the right side. Harrison went on to make some excellent tackles and from the left side of the field, continuing our strong defensive performance.
Early on in the second half Kesgrave tested us with a shot from just over the halfway line, but Charlie McCarthy in goal dealt with it very confidently. Charlie used his skills learnt at the ITFC Academy, remaining calm in goal looking never fazed by the countless shots made from Kesgrave.
Our discipline and teamwork paid off when the Academy team scored their first goal with 15 minutes to go. The Academy defence quickly dealt with an attack from Kesgrave and dispatched the ball out to Jack Sowter who quickly linked up with midfield who sent the ball out to Ben Boggis who was standing in space upfront on the left. He saw the defender closing him down and so decided to take his chances and struck the ball at goal and was rewarded with seeing it hit the back of the net.
Ben and Evan Bolt continued to play with passion linking up well together between left midfield and the attack. Evan rose to the opportunity of taking any free kick or corner taking them with confidence.
Zak Brown, who injured his knee early in the first half, never refused to back down in attack. He injured the knee again in the second half causing him to sub off for Max Imlach to have rest. Zak after a short rest bravely asked to come back on enabling him to extend our lead to 2-0.
With 10 minutes to go Jack Sowter sent a pass down the line to Zak who was in space on the right. He easily beat the defender and with his pace was able to outrun any players closing him down. He dribbled the ball right up to the keeper who came off his goal line, leaving Zak to tap it past his left side.
All the boys had to do was concentrate, but with a minute to go Kesgrave pulled one back to make it a few tense final moments. When the whistle went it was all over, and the Academy Year 7 team won their first Cup Final together 2-1!
Jack Sowter got player of the match for his part in setting up the two goals.