Brixington Blues Under-12s keep their grip on KO Cup trophy after semi-final success
PUBLISHED: 20:38 23 April 2018 | UPDATED: 20:38 23 April 2018
Brixington Blues Under-12s emerged victorious after a compelling Exeter and District Youth League KO Cup semi-final meeting with Alphington played at Cullompton Rangers.
The top two teams in Division One served up the anticipated thriller. On a warm evening both teams made confident starts, but no single player worked harder than Blues midfielder Luke Ewing, who got just reward for his fantastic work rate when, after some good link up play by Bobby Pond, he drilled the ball home to give Blues the lead.
Alphington quickly restored parity, but Blues were soon again in the lead when, after a slick counter-attack, the ball fell to Pond, who unleashed a powerful shot that the Alphington glovesman could only parry in to the path of Ewing, who calmly slotted the ball home.
However, the end-to-end action continued and the Alphas levelled before the break to leave the match locked at 2-2 at half-time.
In the second half, Blues edged ahead once more, when Thomas Dean reacted quickest to latch onto an under-hit back pass and drill it past the goalkeeper. Once again the lead was short lived as a long-range free-kick deceived Blues stopper Ben Jeffery.
With the scores level at 3-3 at the end of normal time, extra time beckoned. Alphington perhaps had the best chances in extra time with Jeffery making a superb save to deny them.
Blues defenders Jack McBryan and Bradley Cameron also made terrific blocks on the line to keep the scores level and so the tie moved into a penalty shoot-out.
Blues scored their first three penalties with captain Callum Smith, Pond and Ewing all converting well, but so did the Alphas, slotting their first three spot kicks.
However, the fourth Alphas kick was superbly saved by Jeffery and Dean stepped up to score the fourth for Blues. Jeffery got a strong hand on the fifth Alphas penalty, but it trickled over the line leaving McBryan to step forward and slam his spot-kick home to send Blues into their second successive final.
Last year’s Under-11 cup winners will now attempt to win the cup as an Under-12 side on Finals Day next month.
There were jubilant scenes amongst the Blues players, parents and coaches at full time. The Blues Man of the Match award went to the outstanding Luke Ewing.