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Previous final experience proves crucial
Monday 14th May 2018 @ 10:26 by Mark Phillip

The annual Tameside Schools’ F.A. Cup Finals, which were held at St. Damian’s R.C. Science College, were full of excitement and high-quality football, with three previous winners reclaiming the trophy.

In the North Tameside (Holmes) Final, current holders, Moorside Primary Academy were up against Greenside, in an all-Droylsden derby. Both teams have been in excellent form all season, so it was going to be a very close encounter, which it proved to be. Early on Moorside created chances but couldn’t unlock the Greenside defence. Greenside were causing the Moorside defence problems with their long throws. During the second half, Greenside continued to press forward looking for the opening goal but good saves from the Moorside keeper and a shot off the post kept the scores level. The game was decided late on by a strike from captain, Josh Turner, just after Greenside had hit the post. His successful team mates were: Broden Phipps, Bobby Bolger, Thomas Murray, Finley O’Hanlon, Jack Cottrell, Tyler Clarke Reid, Ethan Hall, Ryan Walker Thomas Hall and Lennon Mc Breen.

Damian Turner from Moorside congratulated Greenside, stating: “It was such a fantastic final which neither team deserved to lose but it took a goal worthy of winning any final to separate two excellent teams.”

Michael Ellis, Greenside team manager, said: “Congratulations to Moorside for winning. It was a very close game and was tense for everyone who was watching never mind playing. Both teams worked hard throughout the game and we were very close to scoring when we hit the post just before Moorside scored a fantastic late winner.”

The Greenside team consisted of: Isaac McCandless (their player of the match), Ellis Jackson, Keaton English, Daniel Bancroft, Jack Smith, Bradley Atkinson, Hadley Hindle Warhurst and Ryan Shaw. To make up for some of the disappointment, the Greenside girls’ team won the Tameside Monthly League.

In the South Tameside (Kiley Final), 2014-15 winners, Pinfold, Hattersley, came up against first-time finalists, Dane Bank, Denton, and what a game this turned out to be. Dane Bank settled quickly into the game and a defensive error gave them the opening goal. They scored a second before Pinfold pulled one back through Tyce Richards before half-time. Early in the second half, Dane Bank’s third goal seemed to set them up, but Pinfold kept battling away and two late goals, from Bobby Page and Cameron Powers ensured extra-time. The momentum stayed with them and just before the end, Ray’AL Simmons got the vital winner. Other team members were: Oliver Logan, Declan Withington, Oliver Boden, Connor Smith, Cameron Powers and Rio Ward.

The following evening, the two Tameside Finals were held. The Tameside (Heywood) Cup Final, brought reigning cup holders, Canon Burrows CE, Ashton, against first-time finalists, Godley Academy, Hyde. Played before a large crowd, this was seen as a David and Goliath affair, as Canon Burrows is a two-form entry school, whilst Godley is a one-form entry. However, it was a very keenly fought match with both sides evenly matched and like the North Tameside Final, one goal decided it, scored by Joe Cordwell. His fellow players were: Jayen Patel-Harrison, Noah Clayton, Jarom Preston, Jack Smith, James Stanton, George Nathaniel, Silas Wright, Zak Ali and Adam Whitehead. Manager, Andy Horne reported, “It was a very close game and both teams were a credit to their schools.”

Tom Anderson, manager of Godley said: “The final was played in great spirit, on and off the pitch, by the vast majority with both teams showing true grit and great honour representing their schools. It was a great physical game with both teams showing the utmost respect for each other and the referee’s decisions.” The Godley squad was: Neo Clarke, George Pickford (captain), Harvey Fahy, Ethan Etchells, Joshua Fitton, Harry Bovis, Kane Bennett, Billy Armitage, Sean Fletcher and Harry Judd.

The final match, the Tameside (Millea) Supplementary Final, which is for small schools, pitted two first-time finalists, St. Raphael’s Catholic, Millbrook against St. James’ Catholic, Hattersley. St. James’ had already tasted success winning the Trophy Festival in the autumn. Both teams had different styles with St. Raphael’s playing a more direct game, whilst St. James’ played a shorter passing game. St James’ got behind the opposition’s defence twice to grab two first half goals through Joshua Cooper and Jules Diengmou. St. Raphael’s pressed hard in the second half, coming close on several occasions only to be thwarted both by steadfast defending and by Jose Lopez Loriente in the St. James’ goal. St. James’ looked as if they might score on the break but neither side managed to add to the score line as they toiled and tired in the hot sunshine. The game was well refereed and played in a good spirit. The St. James’ squad was: Jose Lopez Loriente, Jules Diengmou, William Mabe Davies, Joshua Cooper, Lennon Higginson, Tyrell Harris, Emily Higgins, Matthew Higgins.

Bob Partridge, St. James’ manager said, “An outstanding result for St. James’ Catholic – particularly pleasing as sporting involvement for the school is firmly based on enjoyment, sportsmanship, team work and good practice. Having won four games to reach the final, both teams competed with commitment, enthusiasm and considerable skill to test each other’s resolve and resilience.

Donal Townson, Tameside SFA Secretary, thanked the staff of St. Damian’s for the use of their facilities and the referees, Trevor Massey and John Walton, who ensured that all finals ran smoothly, giving all the players the opportunities to show their skills. Medals were presented by the Tameside SFA High Schools’ Secretary, Kevin Fay.