Louth school footballers reach national cup semi-finals

A Louth secondary school are 90 minutes from reaching a national schools football final after a thrilling cup run.

The KEVIGS Year 10 squad are two wins from a national title. From left, back - Danny Crane, Ben Thomas, Zach Atterby, Toby Precious, Noah Cottingham, Ben Grist, Jack Lyons, Stan Evans; front - Henry Smith, Arjen Hendrikse, Freddie Rhodes, Callum Norman, Finn Charlton, Will Gaskell, Sam Wise, Robert Patch. Missing from picture: Tom Weeks, Archie Miall. EMN-200217-135814002

King Edward VI Grammar School’s Year 10 side have come through five rounds to reach the semi-finals of the English Schools Football Association (ESFA) Small Schools Trophy.

They face a long trip south to Sussex for their last-four tie, when they will take on Buckswood School, in Hastings, for a place in the final.

Coach Steve Wright said “The school over the years have had a couple of excellent runs in the national cup which is even more amazing when you think of the schools that enter from all of the country and from some big cities.

“There are also independent schools which can dedicate more time than we can to football and some have their own football academies.”

The Louth team had to overcome one such opponent in the quarter-finals when they faced another away tie at Brooke House College, an independent school which boasts their own football academy, director of football and top facilities.

The South Leicestershire school dominated possession, but King Edward, led by captain Ben Grist, were resolute and made better use of their limited time on the ball to create the two best chances.

The school’s leading scorer Danny Crane took one of them, breaking free to score the winner with 15 minutes to go.

“They were a very good team and played some nice football,” Steve added.

“It was an amazing achievement against a school of their calibre. Our lads worked so hard and really stuck together to get a great win.”

They began their national run with a first round 7-0 demolition of Vale Academy in Scunthorpe, before easing past more Scunthorpe opponents, Sir John Nelthorpe School, 3-0.

They made it three successive clean sheets as Crane’s strike edged out Horncastle, 1-0, to book a four-hour trip south for round four.

There they took on the first independent school of their run, Halibury High, and once more came through without conceding, as goals from Crane and Henry Smith earned a 2-0 victory.

Steve said: “The team was amazing to travel that distance and get off the minibus and play within 30 minutes.

“Halibury had done very well in previous years so it was a great achievement.”

The Year 10 boys will carry plenty of confidence into their semi-final tie, having been recently crowned district champions after a 2-1 defeat of Horncastle, and are also now through to March’s County Cup semi-finals.