SCHOOLS FOOTBALL: NSB strike late to claim national schools' title glory
Northampton School for Boys' Under 15 football team is celebrating national glory after winning the English Schools' FA Under 15 PlayStation Open Schools Cup.
In a carnival atmosphere at Reading FC’s Madejski Stadium, NSB got their hands on the trophy after a 2-1 success against Thomas Telford School, from Telford.
Despite chances at both ends, the game remained goalless going into half-time, but it burst into life within two minutes of the second period.
After some fantastic work down the left from Mungo Bridge, he hung up an excellent cross to the far post which was expertly headed home by Joseph Jarvis to give NSB the lead.
Then with just 10 minutes to go, they were hit with a sucker punch. A free-kick from the right side saw goalkeeper Tyler Mills seemingly impeded, and the ball slipped through his grasp and nestled into the bottom corner.
However, NSB were not to be denied, and a smart finish two minutes from time saw them win it.
Crystal Palace star Jason Puncheon was at the Madejski Stadium to support the finals, and was on hand to present the trophy and medals to NSB.
As well as getting their hands on the trophy, the team had a day to remember as they not only had the opportunity to play on the pitch at a professional stadium, but also have their pre-match team talk in the dressing room.
NSB PE teacher Craig Armstrong said: “This competition attracts the very best school teams from around the country as it has no squad restriction on the number of contracted players at professional football clubs and therefore is seen as the premier competition in school football.
“Having already been beaten by Thomas Telford in a very close encounter earlier this season, it was fair to say that the NSB boys went into the game as underdogs. “This provided our boys with exactly the right motivation leading into the game, with the feeling of having a point to prove against a Thomas Telford football programme that is nationally seen as the best in the country.
“Becoming national champions was something that I think most of the boys thought would be a tough ask at the start of the game.
“However, with great heart and an unquestionable team work ethic, they proved to themselves that not only were they good enough but more importantly, thoroughly deserving of the title of ESFA U15 Open Schools Cup National Champions.
“Also, many thanks to Austec Label and Sign Installations who kindly sponsored the warm-up tops for the day.”