Junior Football: Four-star Benton pull off national cup final victory

Benton Park Under-17s celebrate winning the English National Schools Cup.
Benton Park Under-17s celebrate winning the English National Schools Cup.
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Benton Park brought home the Under-17s English National School Cup after defeating Essex opponents Harris Academy 4-1 on penalties in a thrilling final at Doncaster Rovers FC.

After a goalless first half, Benton drew first blood as route one football from Sam Whittington found Josh McKiernon who slotted past ’keeper Liam Price.

Benton then doubled the lead as Mckiernon smashed home a penalty after a handball in the box from Paul Nwanze.

The Essex side pulled one back in the 73rd minute as Tim Ogunrinde scored direct from a corner but only three minutes later Smith was brought down in the box and Christian Soda stepped up to score the penalty and put Benton Park 3-1 ahead.

But Harris Academy produced an amazing comeback with Abraham Bankrole first netting in the 89th minute to make it 3-2. Then, seconds later, captain Aromalaran slotted past Whittington to draw the scores level in the 90th minute and take the match to extra time.

Benton held their nerve to win the shoot-out 4-1 win after two amazing saves from Whittington and penalties from skipper Jack Atkinson, Christian Soda, Scott Stein and Josh Mckiernon with the winning penalty. Mckiernon said: “Winning the National School Cup is obviously an amazing feeling, the whole team played a huge part and we’ve been class in every round.

“We didn’t half make it hard for ourselves from being 3-1 up in the 89th minute and conceding two late goals but we kept our heads up and won it on penalties. I am proud to be a part of this team and win the trophy for this school.”

Head of youth development and manager David Currie added: “It is a great achievement to win a National Cup and the players thoroughly deserved to win it.

“They have worked tirelessly on the training pitch and in gym with the coaches at Guiseley AFC and we have high hopes for a number of the players involved.

“We are delighted that they have given Benton Park HS, the city of Leeds and West Yorkshire something to be proud of; as it has been too long a wait for a school in this region to win a national trophy in football.”

Leeds Schools FA Under-11s are also celebrating after bagging the Green Un Cup through a 2-1 victory in the final against York at Bishop Burton College.

From Bradley Wood’s pinpoint cross, Ben Redshaw’s superb diving header gave Leeds a 1-0 lead and while York then levelled, Bradley Pride hit the winner with five minutes to go.

North East Leeds Under-18s are also celebrating after winning the Garforth Junior Football League Under-18s Challenge Cup following a 2-1 victory against Colton Juniors Under-18s at Garforth Town.

NEL trailed to a third-minute penalty but then turned the game on its head thanks to strikes from Jean Kayij and Josh Smith. After their third minute mishap, the Leeds defence of keeper Lee Bramfitt, Simon Baker, Alex Snelling, Jordan Ibbotson held firm, led by captain Harold Monkam. Joe Nevill took the NEL player of the match award.

In the Harrogate & District Junior League, already-promoted Kirkstall Crusaders finished their season in style with a 16-0 hammering of Division C’s second-bottom visitors Otley Town Under-14s.

Kieran Croft and Joshua Morris hit four-timers, supported by a Zak Yasir hat-trick plus braces for Matthew Mather and Glen Mazyondo and also a Lewis Binder strike.

Under the care of young American coach Darryan Fields, Kirkstalll finished second as Nidd United sealed the title with a 5-0 win at bottom club Horsforth St Margarets Mustangs.

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