Buckhurst Hill FC Under-16s have been crowned National champions representing Essex

Buckhurst Hill FC Under-16s crowned National champions

Buckhurst Hill FC Under-16s crowned National champions

First published in Sport

Buckhurst Hill FC Under-16s overcame a nervy final penalty shoot-out to win the National Cup representing Essex.

The team were invited to represent the county in a tournament involving 20 of the country’s top sides after winning the EJA Essex League title last season.

Hill made a perfect start to the day by winning their five-team group without conceding a goal.

After seeing off Tamworth, Wolverhampton and Hull with some impressive passing football, Hill sealed the group with a 2-0 win over Leicester thanks to a sublime brace from Kci Steadman.

Buckhurst maintained their resolute defensive record in the first knockout game with a tense 2-0 victory against South London representatives, Lewisham.

Hill took the lead when Cameron Ovel finished from a corner, and after tempers frayed resulting in a red card following a head butt from a Lewisham player, Hill put the game to bed by forcing an own goal in the closing stages.

Northampton were the opponents in the semi-final, and after 125 minutes of football to reach the last four, the game began in cagey fashion.

Centre-backs George Collis and Ovel kept Northampton at arm’s length before Chris Coveney managed to outmuscle the Northampton defence and rifle home the opener for the Essex side.

Hill earned their ticket to the final with an Andrio Inacio goal from the penalty spot.

Newcastle proved to be formidable opponents in the National Cup final, and despite chances for Inacio, it took a penalty shoot-out to separate the sides after a goalless draw.

After a smart save from George Simpson earlier in the shoot-out, Hill emerged as champions with Ovel sending the Newcastle keeper the wrong way with his winning penalty.

Manager Mark Williams said: “The boys were dead on their feet and had given it their all.

“Myself, coach Danny Pearman and the parents were extremely proud and the boys were deservedly crowned National champions.”

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