Debenham’s dreams of schools’ cup final dashed

DEBENHAM High School’s dreams of winning the English Schools FA Under-13 Cup were dashed with a 2-1 quarter-final defeat.

The Suffolk side, who had won through seven rounds to reach the last eight of the national competition, lost 2-1 at home to Eastbury (Barking & Dagenham) on Thursday.

The visitors took the lead after 15 minutes before George Fowler equalised for Debenham three minutes before the break, getting behind the defence and rounding the keeper to score into an empty net.

Debenham started the second half strongly and it was slightly against the run of play when Eastbury scored their second goal. Lewis Owiredu and John Massala were their goalscorers.

The home team almost equalised two minutes from time but Liam Forster’s scrambled effort was pushed on to a post by the goalkeeper.

Almost 500 spectators watched the match, which was refereed by former Premier League official Steve Tanner. On Tuesday evening he had been in charge of the Millwall versus QPR npower Championship match.

Suffolk FA chief executive Phil Knight was one of his assistants.

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Debenham manager Oliver Hughes said: “It was a closely-fought game. They were a good footballing side and very strong physically, but we more than matched them in that department.

“It is an outstanding achievement to get this far for a school of our size. The side we lost to have three times as many boys to choose from.

“Our boys have been a real credit to the school.”

Debenham meet Chalkstone Middle School, Haverhill, in the county cup final at Gainsborough Sports Centre, Ipswich, on a date to be arranged.

“We won the cup last year so will be looking to retain that,” added Hughes.

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