GALLERY/VIDEO UPDATES: Great Cornard win national schools’ final
JACK HOUSDEN was the hero as Great Cornard Middle School secured the Under-13 Small Schools Trophy at Portman Road yesterday.
Housden struck in the final minute of the first half to send the majority of the vociferous 587 children, parents and school teachers, sat in the Cobbold Stand, into raptures.
It was no more than the Suffolk school deserved as they played some enterprising football and created the better chances during a frantic first half.
However, the Tynesiders were determined not to endure a fruitless long journey to Ipswich and did all they could to grab a second half equaliser, only to be denied by some inspired Cornard defending, led by Ben Judge and Craig Doherty.
Cornard had battled their way past six teams to get to this point, scoring 19 and conceding just six goals along the way, but faced a stern examination if they were to seal the national title.
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The local side started the brighter of the two teams, kicking towards the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand, and Housden almost gave Cornard an early lead, stabbing the ball just wide of the post with goalkeeper Matthew Parker quick to close him down.
The influential Chilli Wolf, a member of the Ipswich Town academy, then fired over from distance as Cornard looked to give the fanatical home fans something to really cheer about.
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Left-back Jamie Ward then had his path to goal blocked by two Seaton Burn defenders, following a mistake by the keeper, before Housden headed wide from Josh Collins’ inviting right-wing cross.
Wolf then had a teasing effort from range tipped over the bar before, at the other end, Judge was in the right place at the right time to deny Seaton midfielder Ben Noble as he charged down on goal.
Seaton enjoyed their best spell of the game just before half-time and Nathan Jeffrey ballooned an effort over the bar before Josh Callen shot wide.
Just as it looked as though the teams were going in at the break goalless, Housden latched on to Charlie Stevens’ angled right-hand throw and after his volley across goal was blocked by Parker, the Liverpool fan reacted the quickest to fire the ball into an empty net from six yards out.
Seaton were quickest out of the blocks in the second half and with Cornard looking to play on the break, the Tynesiders had the better of the action.
However, the team from Newcastle were mainly restricted to shots from range and when they did threaten the 18-yard box, Cornard’s defence were quick to close down any threat.
As Seaton hunted a leveller, they left gaps at the back and twice, the speedy Housden attacked with vigour, only to be denied on both occasions, once as he was pulled back by big defender Joe Wilson.
Seaton did their best to pull a goal back in the dying minutes as players from both sides felt the affects of cramp, but it was not to be as Cornard were crowned champions and captain Judge lifted the trophy in front of his screaming school friends, teachers and families.