JUNIOR FOOTBALL: More penalty woe for Spalding Grammar

HABERDASHER’S ASKE’S SCHOOL 0 SPALDING GRAMMAR SCHOOL (Spalding lose 4-2 on penalties): Spalding Grammar School suffered penalty heartache once again as they exited the LB Cup at the semi final stage.

Two seasons ago the team had lost the LB cup final on penalties against Radley, and the wounds of disappointment were reopened in last week’s semi.

The windy conditions and well-prepared pitch in Hertfordshire suited Spalding’s playing style, as they started the match well.

Within a minute, debutant Casey Lewis used his pace to break through the defence and take an early shot which sliced wide. Despite high levels of possession Spalding were finding it difficult to break down the well-drilled Haberdasher’s defence. Another debutant, Oliver Luto, was forced to clear off the line at the other end.

In the second half, Spalding changed shape and introduced target man Alex Vassallo to exploit the wide areas.

Early on he combined well with wide men Lewis and Alex Wood to see the latter toe-poke an outstretched chance into the outrushing keeper.

But Haberdasher’s took control of the second half, hitting three chances at the Spalding keeper James Shuster before the end of 90 minutes.

During extra time Spalding’s fitness and resilience shone through. Luke Want and Lewis combined with devastating effect to cut through the defence, only for the Haberdasher’s keeper to save well.

Neither side could break through though, forcing penalties.

During the shootout Spalding took an early lead, as Timmy Magnus and Wood converted, and Shuster saved. However, subsequent misses from Shuster and Want gave Haberdasher’s the advantage.

Boss Dave Endersbee said: “We lost on penalties which is a cruel way to lose. However, when you cannot divide two strong teams, it is the only way. Every single player could not have given more today.

“This team have exceeded all expectations in this competition, and have done so through hard work and resilience. To be eliminated at the semi final stage having not conceded a goal shows just how difficult we have been to play against.”

Spalding (4-4-2): Shuster; Pryke, Nottingham, Sharman, Luto; Allen, Howell (c), Magnus, Kirchin; Wood, Lewis. Subs: Bird, Want, Vassallo. MOTM: Ben Nottingham.

PINCHBECK UTD U13S 3

BLACKSTONES U13S 1

Dominant Pinchbeck went top of the table in style – and ensured they’ll finish no lower than third in Division One.

It was the visitors who went after only seven minutes from what was to be their only shot on target, as Pinchbeck took control of the game from the start but lacked a little composure in front of goal.

Blackstones were content to put bodies behind the ball and hit Pinchbeck on the break.

The home side carved out a number of good chances in the first half but the Stamford side defended well to keep themselves 1-0 up at half time.

The second half saw some tactical substitutions by Pinchbeck in an attempt to force their way back into the game.

They eventually levelled some 20 minutes into the second half when a Layton Maddison corner found Kieran Hamilton.

He rose the highest in a crowd of players to bury a crisp header from past the keeper from eight yards.

Pinchbeck then piled forward and four minutes later Maddison, Lewis Harker and Jack Brown combined well to set up Tappi to slide the ball in from ten yards.

With ten minutes remaining Pinchbeck put the game out of reach when Jacko Withers forced his way through from midfield to set up Tappi, who calmly side-footed his second into the corner from eight yards.

HOLBEACH UTD U11S 2

SPALDING UTD U11S 1

Holbeach came from behind to edge out rivals Spalding in their final match of the season.

The young Tulips took an early lead when a cross from the right was deflected in by an unfortunate defender.

Billy Barnes fired wide soon after, but Spalding held the lead at half time.

Joseph Rickerby went close early in the second period, before the Tigers hauled themselves level when Barnes put a pass through to Matt Goodley to fire home a leveller.

Holbeach then won a corner and Ewan McCracken delivered for Rickerby to bury their second.

Spalding had chances to level, but Charlie King pulled off some super saves.

At the other end Brad Whitmore and Josh Balding both had shots on goal, but couldn’t add to their tally. Regardless, it was a good end to to season for the young Tigers.