Juniors Win U15s Cup in Extra Time
It was an all Newcastle City Juniors affair on a blustery evening at Whitley Park, which saw the City Juniors contingent lift the McDonalds U15 Boys Cup with a 3-2 win over City Milan.
An early goal from Josh Crews and a brace from Rob Ryland sealed the game for City Juniors as they came from behind to win in extra time.
The final started a very even contest, with both teams looking good in possession; understandably as the finalists occupy the top two spots in their respective leagues.
But it was City Juniors who started the brighter side as Josh Crews capitalised on a fumble by the Milan keeper to break the deadlock just 15 minutes into the game.
After the first goal, the home side looked in control of the derby game with Spellman exploiting the right flank and crossing to the back post, finding Errington whose shot was blocked by a black and white shirt.
Milan nearly equalised on 29 minutes, with Kieron Moat fizzing a strike to test the ‘keeper from outside the area. This was followed by a Rob Ryland chance at the other end, the midfielder fluffing a glorious chance at the back post.
The second half was affected by the strong wind, which forced both teams to play the ball on the floor. This favoured Milan as Kieron Moat was played through on the left side of the box, making no mistake with his finish to level the score on 54 minutes.
Moat, who looked dangerous all game, doubled his tally just nine minutes later with one the best goals seen in the County finals. The forward dribbling in midfield before unleashing from an outrageous distance over the ‘keeper and into the back of the net to give Milan the lead.
It was end-to-end football in the second half, City Juniors gunning for an equaliser just minutes after and finally getting their goal on 67 minutes - Rob Ryland making up for his first half blunder by rounding the ‘keeper and slotting in the bottom corner.
The intensity didn't wear off in the final few minutes, both teams having their chances to bag the winner. Firstly, Dan Flude struggling to get a shot off for Milan as he was played through with two defenders hot on his heels, then Jamie Gibson skying the ball from six yards following a squared ball into the box.
Extra time was the last thing the two sides wanted as players started to tire in the early stages but the whistle went after two minutes of added time to force another 20 minutes of football in the final.
The way the game was going everyone expected a penalty shootout, but City Juniors broke Milan hearts just one minute into extra time - Rob Ryland the hero as the forward thumped one in from 20 yards.
It was Ryland's second of the game which proved to be the winner as City Juniors saw the game out to lift the McDonalds Boys U15 Cup for 2018 after a thrilling game of football.
Newcastle City Juniors: Carter, Errington, Gibson, Crews, Naisbitt, Illingworth, Nearly, Hearn, Spellman, Brewis, Ryland
Subs: Nicholls, Ramshaw
Newcastle City Milan: Shanley, Hunter, Sherriff, Phillips, Stevenson, Lane, Palmer, Sengago, Moat, Flude, Kilburn
Subs: Riley, Little
Report by Dan Simmonite