NPL Youth clinch the Thorpe Park U13 Cup in an 8-goal thriller
In an intense final at Meadowbank, NPL Youth put their name on the Thorpe Park U13 Cup.
NPL started off the game well and set the tone with good passing and movement. They won a free kick in the 3rd minute, but George Adam’s shot went just above the bar. It was nevertheless a positive start by them.
Alfold grew into the game eventually. Keigho Piller was strong in midfield with his tenacious tackling and interceptions. They attacked NPL with long balls into the left channel, but NPL’s Jamie Nkrumah was proactive and read the game well, protecting his backline.
The first goal came in the 11th minute, courtesy of a nice strike by NPL’s George Robinson. NPL wasted no time in extending their lead, as Ben Whiteley carried the ball down the right wing and slotted it in the near post.
NPL were cruising at this stage with a healthy 2-goal lead in the opening 15 minutes. These 2 goals gave them more energy and enthusiasm as they continued their charge.
In the 18th minute, NPL won a free kick right outside the box. Oliver Tomlinson assumed responsibility over the dead ball – he took a cheeky shot that zipped under wall but unfortunately was straight at the keeper.
Alfold worked relentlessly to create chances and find an opening. Will Howarth was one of their performing well in the first half with his pace and quick recovery, keeping them tight at the back.
NPL came close to extending their lead on half time. Ben Whiteley almost scored again – a remarkably similar chance to their second goal but they had to settle for the 2 goals scored earlier.
NPL were straight off the block in the second half, as William Whitehead scored immediately to make it 3-0. This brought some form of reaction from Alfold. Josh Hawley scored in the 32nd minute to make it 3-1 and bring them back in the game - he picked up on a loose ball in the box calmly placed it into the goal.
The goal gave Alfold a massive boost. They started spraying nice passes around with Lionel Langa looking lively in the middle of the park. Josh Hawley nearly scored from a free kick in the 43rd minute. His shot grazed the crossbar to go out - a turning point in the game as they could have brought it back to 3-2.
A minute later, NPL’s Thomas Hooper went on to score the 4th goal to further extend the gap. Alfold certainly did not give up. Josh Hawley received the ball from a free kick played short, and his shot looped over the keeper into the far corner to make it 4-2.
NPL stepped up another gear, Ben Whiteley and Joseph Martyr both grabbed a goal each to seal the match 6-2. Though the scoreline seemed inflated and did not do justice to Alfold, NPL Youth were worthy champions on the day!
(NPL Youth): George Robinson (11’), Ben Whiteley (12’ & 60+2’), William Whitehead (31’), Thomas Hooper (45’), Joseph Martyr (60+3’).
(Alfold): Josh Hawley (32’ & 60’).
MOTM: (NPL Youth): Ben Whiteley
Referee: Dino Costi
Assistant Referee: Sam Budden
Assistant Referee: Harry Hearn
Fourth Official: Matthew Corringham
Alfold: Max Bradley, Lionel Langa, Freddie Ward, Keigho Piller, Zac Stratton, Austin Jesney, Ollie Jones, Josh Hawley, KCI Gordon, Max Papacharalambous, Alfie Mott, Niklos Vlachos, Tom Lloyd, Jack Stevenson, Will Howarth, Antonio Cohen, Henry Glyn, Connor Stevenson, Josh Chizyuka, Evan Ward.
NPL Youth: Jamie Noad, Jamie Nkrumah, Albert Kadar, Lorenzo Messina, Mason Rea, George Adams, Roman Banjanovic, William Whitehead, Oliver Tomlinson, Joseph Martyr, Declan James, Henry Emptage, Callum O’Connor, Ben Whiteley, George Robinson, Danny Whitehead, Thomas Hooper.