Leatherhead edge shootout to win U14 Youth Cup
Leatherhead battled to overcome a strong Camberley Town side to be crowned winners of the U14 Youth County Cup Final on Sunday 20th March at Meadowbank.
The game started off end to end, with both sides strong in winning the ball back from the other. Both Leatherhead keeper, Finley Legg, and Camberley Town keeper Dom West showed confidence in their box and in distributing the ball.
In the opening minutes there was an unfortunate setback for Camberley, as James Rai was fouled when driving forward and had to be taken off, the resulting free kick was comfortably collected by Finley Legg.
Later, Camberley had a good chance to go ahead as Mikey Malchev-Szczepaniak won the ball high up the field to play in Zahir Al Nawab, who was found to be narrowly offside. Moments later, Al Nawab was involved in a lovely one-two setting up Luca Di Manno, whose saved shot struck the crossbar.
Despite their early pressure, Camberley Town found themselves behind when Leatherhead took the lead from a corner routine, Reggie Geer rising above everyone else to comfortably head the ball in and make in 1-0.
Camberley had a chance before the interval, as Hayden Stedman whipped a good cross towards Mikey Malchev-Szczepaniak, who lost his footing and was unable to capitalise on the chance.
Down the other end, Leatherhead had a chance to double their lead after a free kick was sent into the box and keeper Dom West scrambled to put the ball out for a corner to keep things tight at the interval.
Both sides worked hard to keep the same momentum in the second half, with chances few and far between. Until a free kick from Camberley proved awkward for the Leatherhead defence and Reggie Geer was judged to have handled the ball in the box, penalty. Up stepped Freddie Jamieson for Camberley who slotted the ball home to bring the tie level at 1-1.
The scores only remained level for a short period, as in similar circumstances back in the Camberley half, Jacob Lucas was judged to have handled the ball and the subsequent penalty was driven home by Fletcher Henderson to restore the lead for Leatherhead.
Leatherhead came close to giving themselves a 2-goal cushion as a free kick was dropped by Dom West, but the keeper recovered well and smothered the ball before the opposition attack could pounce.
As the game edged into added time, an injury to Camberley Town resulted in a drop ball being awarded. Hayden Stedman looped an awkward ball into the box which was then parried by Finley Lee into his own net, resulting in a goal being awarded and the scores finishing even a 2-2.
The penalty shootout that followed the full time whistle resulted in Leatherhead edging Camberley Town by converting 7 penalties to their 6, ensuring that Leatherhead finished the winners of the U14 Cup Final.