Upper Clatford Youth FC U16s retained their Testway Division 1 League title after coming back from behind to earn a draw against League Cup winners Clarendon.

In the final game of the season, Upper Clatford needed at least a draw to retain the title.

At half-time, the score was 0-0 as both teams thought they each had the edge.

In the first minute of the second half Clarendon took and early goal. They kept the lead for 15 minutes, but Upper Clatford constant pressure on the ball forced Clarendon to concede a corner.

The corner kick curved into the box missing everyone including the keeper but finding the back off the net.

The scores were level and whilst both teams chased a second goal, good midfield and defensive play denied either team further opportunity.

The match was played by both teams with ambition, skill, determination and respect in the spirit of the competition and was a great example of the best of grassroots football.

Both teams walked away with their heads held high proud of their achievements this year and looking forward to further encounters next season.

This season was not easy for the Upper Clatford side that won the league undefeated in the previous season.

They had to battle through injuries, player isolation due to Covid and sickness, while they also had to play tough oppositons.

Following an excellent pre-season, Upper Clatford were pegged back in their two opening matches – they were held to a 5-5 draw against South Wonston before a narrow defeat by Whitchurch, both tightly fought games.

Accepting these setbacks, the team rallied to produce a great first round Cup display before embarking on an unbeaten league run up to the Christmas break.

With wind in their sails, Upper Clatford came back in the New Year, but 2022 presented a mixed bag of results largely due to injuries and sickness including defeat by Clarendon in the Cup semi-final. They went on to win the League Cup.

However, even with reduced numbers, the Upper Clatford side still took on every challenge head-on, grinding out results through sheer determination, grit and defiance.