Newport County Academy U14s win Junior Premier League Cup.
Last Saturday Newport County Academy U14s won the Junior Premier League Cup, after coming back from behind against Aylestone Park (Leicester) at Rodney Parade. With the sun shining down on a glorious day the scene was well and truly set and boys didn’t disappoint.
It was a big day for the County academy hosting the JPL Finals in Newport for the first time since becoming one its founder members 5 years ago. But on such a big occasion with plenty of local support, the County young guns started nervously and struggled to get their game going. Some poor passing and bad decisions allowed Aylestone to put them under some early pressure and they took full advantage scoring after when County failed to clear inside their box.
County gradually settled down and started to play some great football. The effort was certainly there with Cameron Gaucci making some driving runs down the wing and strikers Harri Shelley and Lewis Collins both working hard to take the game to Aylestone at every opportunity. Jake Clarke was also starting to have more of an influence and really looked the part on the ball. In a similar story to the County first team they were unable to capitalise on a few chances that came their way.
The big turning point of the game was the introduction of County’s Benji Hoppe who immediately stamped his authority in the midfield, an area which County struggled to dominate. Hoppe seemed to be everywhere breaking up play and was just as impressive on the ball with his slinky skills and distribution.
In the second half County's momentum continued with substitute Sam Swann orchestrating in the middle of the park, very cool on the ball moving it quickly and with purpose at every opportunity. Shortly after County got the breakthrough they deserved when a set piece found Callum Eva who made no mistake firing home from close range.
With County in the ascendancy, wave after wave of attacks followed. The sustained pressure paid dividends when Shelley drove down the right skipping through a few challenges and squared the ball to Swann, who coolly touched the ball to Eva who again on hand to coolly slot the ball home.
Aylestone upped the tempo and came back at the County but County’s defence stood firm. Captain Lucas Murray commanded at the back alongside the impressive Ally Dare and Owain Stephenson.
The final whistle sounded and the celebrations began County won the game 2-1.
Pictured: Back row left to right; John Nash, Dan Benham, Steve Johnson, Chris Ezard, Cameron Gaucci, Tom Atkinson, Tayler Sherard, Robbie Gambarinni, Jack Thomas, Ioan Richards, Rivel Madenborough, Sean Kelly, Lucas Murray (c), Lee Minshull.
Middle row; Sam Swann, Benji Hoppe, Brad Hanbury, Owain Stephenson, Harri Shelley, Owen Taylor, Ally Dare, Jake Clark, Niall Reed.
Front row; Callum Eva (2) and Lewis Collins (MOM).