Sparshot Soton 2 Moneyfields 1 aet.
Hampshire Youth Floodlit Cup semi-final.
Sparsholt Academy’s youngsters reached their third final of the season on Tuesday in dramatic style with an extra-time victory over an impressive Moneyfields side at the Portway Stadium.
With the College team having already won the National U18 Trophy and the County Cup, the young Saints version of the squad had to overcome a bigger and older Moneyfields side who defended superbly and in the end were undone by two slices of bad fortune late in the game.
Sparsholt fielded a young side based around 16 and 17 year olds and they struggled to settle into the game as Dec Seiden sliced a golden chance wide early on and they soon paid for it as the same player escaped down the left and shot home from an angle on 20 minutes.
Charlie Gunson drove wide and David Jerrard had an effort saved by Ashley Paul but apart from an intriguing battle between Ed Chappe and Callum Glen in midfield there was little in the way of aggression before the break.
With the Pompey-based side looking to close out the game only a superb last ditch tackle from Andover boy Macaulay Stubbs stopped Seiden which proved to be the game changer.
Tommy Wright returned to the fray and with one of the team’s first shots on target got enough on a drive to beat Paul, albeit with a slice involved.
It took the game into extra-time and with minutes remaining and Moneyfields defending deep a melee developed in the six yard box before the ball squirted out and rolled into the net with Stubbs wheeling away to claim the goal and the place in the final.
Coach Neil Benson praised skipper Stubbs for his contribution saying: “Macca played the full 90 minutes the day before against Eastleigh in the heat and his last gasp tackle and late goal were pivotal and he deserves the manof the match accolade.”
It has been a very busy time for the squad as Tommy Wright, Charlie Gunson and Ed Chappe all played for Southampton’s U16 side at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday. The youngsters trained at Aston Villa’s HQ on Friday before an overnight stop and Chappe scored in the win with all three impressing the Saints coaching squad.