Basford United Academy won a national cup final yesterday as they took on a Crystal Palace Volenti Academy side in the SCL Education Youth Development League Challenge Cup at Harlow Town FC in Essex.
The competition is for academy set ups with over 70 education centres across the country using the power of sport, for 16–18-year-olds, with five regionalised league divisions and a cup contested each year.
Basford of the Midlands Division East have two teams in their division and regularly take on the likes of Grantham Town Academy, Ilkeston Town Academy, PMG and Sports Gateway, who sadly lost their inspiration and creator in Jamie Brough last weekend.
Crystal Palace Volenti is an academy directly attached to Crystal Palace Football Club who have three sides in the Central Division, which also features West Ham United foundation as well as teams from Sutton United, Crawley and Charlton Athletic.
In getting to the final, Basford beat Strachan Academy in the semi-finals, a soccer school based in Coventry set up by Gordon Strachan and his son Gavin who both played for Coventry City. Crystal Palace saw off a Pro Direct London team as well as West Ham in the quarter finals amongst others along the way.
The final itself saw Basford edge through, a 29th minute penalty dispatched by Lui Bull was the only goal of the game and despite some second half pressure, United stood firm with central defender Nat Peters having already played for the clubs first team this season, marshalling a well-balanced amber defence.
Chances for Ayoola Oke and Saweed Djiwadoo went begging late on for Palace, Basford enduring six minutes of injury time but seeing out the match to become the first side from the Midlands to win the cup competition.
Basford United: Daniel Morledge, Lyndon Joyce (Oliver Peate 75), Nassor Abdullah, Nathaniel Peters, Yomi Lowery, Tyrease Hawkins, Charlie Fox, Billy Gillies, Jericho Bonner (Charlton Rooke 67), Lui Bull, Louis Nicholson. Subs: Oliver Peate, Charlton Rooke, Tyler Dacres, Kyle Coke, Rob Osbourne.
*Main image @BasfordUtd the academy side celebrate their win.