Northumberland FA Under-18s failed at the final hurdle as they lost out to Durham FA in the final of the Association of Northern Counties competition on Tuesday night.
Looking to retain their unbeaten league record, North went into the fixture full of confidence off the back of a 4-0 away win at Liverpool FA - however were stunned when Durham took the lead through an acrobatic Michael Colquhoun finish on 25 minutes.
The second goal came nearer to half time when Joe Lennox volleyed the ball home at the back post following a deflected cross which fell on a plate for the full back.
It looked all over when Durham were awarded a penalty shortly after the break, but Liam Renwick saved to give his team a lifeline – and North took their chance moments later with Olly Symonds helping Will Jenkins’ driven cross into the back of the net.
However, the chance of a comeback was crushed when Colquhoun fired back almost immediately from kick off, then completed his hat-trick on 63 minutes to give the Wearsiders a 4-1 lead.
North battled on until the final whistle and managed to grab one back through Adam Beattie in the dying moments – a mere consolation goal as Durham went on to win 4-2 on Tyneside.
Speaking after the tie, youth team manager Alan Thompson said: “I think we started sluggishly, and Durham came out of the blocks very quickly, the first goal was spectacular, but I thought the second half was a much tighter contest however Durham had already got their cushion.
“That being said I’m proud of the lads for getting all the way through to the final and for all the players that have played this season I am pleased to have worked with them – it’s been an honour and a privilege.”
Colquhoun made an impact in the previous 1-1 draw between the two sides earlier in the year, however the South Shields academy prospect really excelled at Whitley Park and was the standout performer on the night.
Alan Thompson added: “He pulled our defence all over from the previous game and we had talked about him and looked at him, but I did not know he was capable of that.”
Durham FA boss Jim Thompson was ecstatic over his player’s performance, adding: “Normally with good goal scorers and forwards you have to tell them to work hard, but with Michael [Colquhoun] you have to settle him down because he already has that in him.
“I was down at Wembley recently for the FA Amateur competition, and I think with both sides it’s a little bit of luck but I do think they have the potential to compete at that level.”
With the dust settled and the season now complete it was a time of reflection for Alan Thompson, who will be looking to do one better next year with most of his squad staying on as well as some younger talent coming through the ranks.
He added: “We have brought quality in and I think we are very lucky in Northumberland with the amount coming through.
“If you look at positives, we’ve got a group tonight that has lost a tough game and nine are available to play next season out of the sixteen, so the future is bright.”