During this season we have taken part in the Staffordshire Moorlands League and Cup, earlier in the season we picked up some great wins to accelerate our potential success. Due to the league being split into two groups, and the two teams getting through to the cup final, it was decided by the ‘Staffordshire Moorlands Schools Sports Association’ to play the final as a double header!
The game was played at Rocester Football club on Wednesday 24th May 2017 with a 4pm kick off, The JCB Academy vs Cheadle.
The game started with a high tempo and high level of passion, it took a few minutes for both teams to settle in and find a rhythm with some great chances at both ends of the pitch forcing some great saves from both goal keepers. The JCB Academy started with a 3-5-2 formation utilising the wings and space out wide, Cheadle started with a 4-4-2. As the first half went on some great chances were created by both teams and the closest chance fell to Cheadle from a corner but were kept out by a fantastic save from Harvey Adams The JCB Academy keeper. The JCB Academy started to put a few passes together and build some confidence keeping possession and creating chances, this forced Cheadle to sit a little deeper and Harry Heartfield took the opportunity from 30 yards out to take a chance and what a screamer! The ball never looked like it was going to miss rifling into the left hand side of the goal putting The JCB Academy up 1-0. The first half continued to be a great battle with further chances from both teams, Gavin Brown had a header cleared off the line in the final seconds of the first half and it stayed at 1-1.
The second half Cheadle changed their formation to go 4-3-3 with some players moved around and attacked from the start. The JCB Academy stuck with a 3-5-2 and made a substitution, found themselves under considerable pressure but managed to keep Cheadle out with some further great saves from Harvey Adams. After around ten more minutes Cheadle did make a break through with a 3v3 situation and managed to create a goal mouth scramble which eventually resulted with the ball over the goal line to get the equaliser they desperately needed. 1-1! The formation was then changed again by Cheadle back to 4-4-2, The JCB Academy moved strikers and wingers and utilised the bench further. The JCB Academy managed to build more pressure again coming close with chances from Elliot Sellors, Joe Topham and Harry Heartfield but couldn’t capitalise. A very tense final few minutes and full time was up 1-1.
Extra time was going to be a further five minutes each way, an inspirational talk from Scott Taylor the Burton Albion coach gave The JCB Academy lads the second wind that they needed and went out into the extra time with a fighting spirit and positive mind-set. Throughout the game Jack Taylor, Harry Heartfield and Greg Large made some great short and long range passes and commanded the middle of the field, Greg finally got his breakthrough and took his opportunity to take a shot from 20 yards out, again a great strike that never looked like it was going to miss and put The JCB Academy up 2-1 in the first half of extra time. During the second half of extra time, Harvey Adams had come out of his area to collect a high ball over the top, due to the sun in his eyes and not aware of his location he grabbed the ball, this led to him receiving a yellow card and a free kick on the edge of the box for Cheadle, tense moments and Cheadle narrowly missed the goal with the score remaining at 2-1.
Overall a brilliant high tempo game to watch and a very high standard throughout.
A great result and well deserved victory for The JCB Academy to round off a superb season.
Well done to all involved, Man of the match – Greg Large. Exceptional performances from Harvey Adams, Jack Taylor and Harry Heartfield. Great performances by all of the team, Will Smith, Joe Avery, George Adams, Jack McGuire, Charlie Yates, Gavin Brown, Joe Topham, Elliot Sellors, Josh Saini. (also this season Jack Afzal, Josh Walker, Scott Bradeley, Mitchell Lees and Billy Winwood).