Whitby’s Caedmon College put in a battling performance against Harrogate Grammar as they won the North Yorkshire Schools’ FA U18 Cup at York City’s Bootham Crescent.
The match started at a frenetic pace with Harrogate dominating early proceedings and the Caedmon backlinehaving to cope with numerous dangerous situations in and around their penalty box, which the dependable Billy Welford in goal dealt with comfortably.
Caedmon looked to hit Harrogate on the counter and in the eighth minute, Theo Clarke spread the ball wide to Sam Pike who delivered a dangerous shot from the right wing.
The Harrogate keeper fumbled and the excellent Joe Crowther was on hand to turn the ball into the net.
The defence marshalled brilliantly by centre backs Nathan Smurthwaite and Luke Stokoe resisted all that Harrogate threw at them.
Caedmon had a narrow escape in the 20th minute when a shot into the top corner from 25 yards was ruled out as the referee had blown the whistle for a foul a split second before.
Caedmon grew into the game more and more with full backs Tom Shrimpton and Spencer Hewison looking to get forward at every opportunity.
The second goal came shortly afterwards when Clarke delivered a superb driven free-kick from close to the side line into the area which Billy Graham got to before his marker and flicked on the ball with his head into the corner of the goal.
At 2-0 down, Harrogate came roaring back but Caedmon kept them at arm’s length until finally resistance was broken in the 44th minute when, for once, they were unable to deal with an in swinging corner as a Harrogate striker leapt to head home.
The second half was all about defensive discipline and concentration as Harrogate continued to pour forward.
Combative Captain Robbie Hurworth kept the ball moving for College and made countless defensive interceptions.
Stokoe took a nasty knock in the 55th minute and was replaced by the talented Zac Tennant, who slotted immediately into centre back.
College had further reorganising to do in the 65th minute when Harry Purves, who had played superbly in the centre of midfield, succumbed to cramp with the sprightly Jack Idle taking his place. The last change saw defensive-minded Taylor Humble replacing the hard-working Graham as Caedmon tried to see out the remainder of the game.
A last-ditch tackle by Tennant followed by a terrific blocks by Humble and Shrimpton took Caedmon close to the finish line.
In the 86th minute, Harrogate missed a golden opportunity from the edge of the six yard box.
Two minutes later, there was relief for Caedmon College as a header by the Harrogate centre forward grazed the top of the crossbar.
The result was all about determination and effort and taking chances when they came.
Manager Dale Corcoran said: “I thought our game management was excellent.
“Tactically we were very good and some of our more experienced players were able to take the sting out of the game at critical times.
“Positional discipline combined with a fantastic work rate and effort got us a result we thoroughly deserved.
“The students were a real credit to the College.”
Caedmon College 2 Harrogate Grammar School 1