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Jan 18, 2022

Under 16 Boys progress to the ESFA Semi-Finals!

Under 16 Boys manager Lee Sage has provided the following match report after Staffordshire's 5-3 away win against Northumberland in the ESFA Champions Cup Quarter Final:

Match Report - SSCFA U16 Boys vs Northumberland, ESFA Champions Cup Quarter-Final

Staffordshire U16 boys made the long journey north to Newcastle to take on Northumberland U16s in an eagerly anticipated ESFA Champions Cup fixture.

Staffordshire started the game on the back foot, with Northumberland dictating the tempo and looking comfortable in possession. Staffs were threatened early on, with Northumberland’s No10 particularly troublesome. Despite looking promising on the counter-attack, Staffs struggled out of possession, conceding a well-deserved opener to Northumberland after 20 minutes of play. Only a fine save from Staffordshire’s goalkeeper Matty Bryant kept the score at 1-0.

However, Staffordshire were awarded a penalty after the referee deemed Charlie Dean was fouled in the box. Dylan Scott calmly converted to make it 1-1 after half an hour played. Whilst Staffordshire enjoyed more possession and created greater chances, Northumberland finished the 1st half stronger, deservedly taking a 2-1 lead into half-time.

Staffordshire began the second half with a lot more urgency and desire, and began to grow into the game. A tactical change early in the 2nd half allowed Ethan Bracher greater freedom to attack down the left hand side, and almost culminated in reward immediately. Staffordshire’s attack continued to ask questions of the opposition - their defence  failed to clear the ball properly and it fell to Ethan Bracher who calmly dispatched from outside the box to make it 2-2.

Staffs were now firmly on the front foot and their next attack looked likely to take the lead, only to be stopped by a blatant Northumberland foul. The resulting free kick was justly punished, as Dylan Scott’s fabulous strike placed it directly in to the top corner from 25 yards out. 3-2 Staffs and a lead for the first time in the match.

Staffordshire continued to dominate and looked like scoring every time they attacked. However, against the run of play, a soft penalty was awarded to Northumberland. Travis Ziglam stood tall and pulled off a fantastic save from 12 yards, diving low to his right and holding on to the ball. The save was celebrated loudly by Staffordshire, and sportingly by Northumberland as some of their players congratulated Staffordshire’s GK.

The penalty save seemed to spur Staffordshire on, immediately going on the attack through Dylan Scott down the right, who produced an excellent cross that was turned into the back of their own net by the Northumberland Team. Staffordshire now led 4-2.

Northumberland grew back into the game and proved dangerous in possession, subsequently pulling a goal back after some sluggish play from Staffordshire in midfield. 4-3.

Nonetheless, Dylan Scott ended any hopes of a Northumberland comeback with quite frankly a superb goal curled in directly from a corner. Staffordshire then managed the game well and came away with a 5-3 victory, taking them to the ESFA Champions Cup Semi Final.

A special mention to Tom Taylor as Staffordshire’s Man of the Match, playing in 2 different positions and remaining dominant in both.

Well done to all of the boys involved, and we wish Northumberland the best of luck for the remainder of the season. Details of the semi-final will be posted soon.