Chigwell School’s Under-13s team secured a place in the Independent Schools FA Cup final on Monday after a narrow 1-0 victory against Shrewsbury House School from Kingston.
Both teams started quickly and it was Shrewsbury House who had two good opportunities but were denied by outstanding saves from Chigwell goalkeeper Alex Barnes.
Chances in the first half were few and far between with most of the game’s play happening in the middle of the pitch.
The second half kicked off in very dark conditions after a band of rain swept overhead and Shrewsbury House should have scored when they had two chances but could only hit the side netting. As the contest drifted into the latter stages it seemed like one goal would prove decisive and, with five minutes remaining, so it proved.
Tommy Redhead, after some good combination play, sent the ball wide to Devak Rattan who put in a superb cross for Redhead to poke home past the onrushing goalkeeper.
Shrewsbury House pushed forward in the final minutes in search of an equaliser but the Chigwell defence held their nerve with Jake David outstanding throughout the match.
Chigwell School’s head of football Creag Lawrence said: “Credit must go to both teams who tried to play some good passing football in somewhat difficult conditions.”
Chigwell, who were national IAPS sixes runners-up this season, will play Whitgift School from Croydon at Burton Albion FC on Thursday, March 20.
This is the third national final the school have reached in two years after the Under-16s won the ISFA Shield last year.
The Under-11s go to St George’s Park in April to compete in the national ISFA finals.