Sparsholt boys are Coventry bound for final

Sparsholt College 4 Stanmore College 1.

ESFA National U18 Trophy semi-final.

The town of Andover and Sparsholt College will be represented in a national football final this season after a stunning display at a rain sodden Southampton University put paid to cup holders Stanmore College and booked a place in the final of the ESFA National Trophy at the Ricoh Arena, former home of Coventry City FC on Friday, March 14.

Despite the Middlesex side beingwidely tipped to hold on to the trophy the result was rarely in doubt after young Andover Town striker Oli Bailey put his side two goals up inside 22 minutes.

Having been denied by visiting keeper Dan McNicholas early on after an Ed Chappe effort had been parried, Bailey nodded home a David Jerrard pass on 19 minutes before latching on to a classic crossfield pass from Charlie Gunson to lob McNicholas from way out on the far touch line minutes later.

Stanmore woke and twice tested Josh Helm through headers by Alan Bidi and Dean McDonald before Bailey got to the byline and his cross found Callum Cuniffe-Pilley who was again denied by the busy McNicholas.

With the 3G pitch being battered by a hailstorm just after the break Stanmore showed they were still in the game as they dominated the opening stages and on the hour Koran Goldson tucked away a neat cross from the left to half the deficit.

Sparsholt came back with Gunson driving just over from 30 yards but the visitors were looking stronger until they pressed the destruct button midway through the second half.

A free-kick at an angle 25 yards out was always in Chappe’s territory and he curled his shot past McNicholas to break the will of the holders.

Substitute Hillary Ndagurwa made a welcome return after his broken shoulder and within minutes Chappe found him with a deft pass and it was game over at 4-1.

St John Rigby College of Wigan await Sparsholt who are looking for a hat-trick of cups this season.

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