Courageous, Incredible, Against the Odds, Thrilling: These are a few choice words to describe what happened on Dulwich Hamlet Football Club Ground on the 10th of May 2012.
At 4.30pm the whistle blew to signify the beginning of a journey, one that would last 110 minutes. The final of the Inner London County Schools FA Under 16 Cup kicked off between reigning champions, Sedgehill School and The Petchey Academy. The Petchey Academy was in the final for the first time and attempting to be the first team from Hackney to win the tournament.
Kick off: Pre match nerves and the pressure of the occasion allowed Sedgehill to get an early lead with a near post header. Petchey quickly settled and gradually took control. A through ball to hard- working Dion was calmly converted to the keeper’s left – 1-1. From thereon Petchey took command and dominated the game. They went close on several occasions with good efforts from Kojo and Soner. At half-time Petchey rued their missed chances as they returned to the dressing room with
the scores level.
The Second half kicked off and the Petchey Academy started where they had left off. They looked confident with the ball and passed it fluently, despite the elements. The two holding midfielders Jawad Jaigirdir and Hoang Le were controlling the game, linking well and distributing the ball to the flanks with ease. Petchey were able to use the speed of the left wing Darius Bryan to break down the flank and get in behind Sedgehill’s back four. Meanwhile right wing Kojo Awotwi was dazzling defenders with his footwork and close control, leaving the left back for dead, time and time again.
The fluidity and movement of the ball led to a Petchey lead of 1-2 through Hasan Asania.
The goal changed the game! Leading for the first time, Petchey began to play nervous football, they battened down the hatches and decided to play territorially, hitting long balls toward the flanks and demanding Sedgehill to play football from deep inside their own half. The crowd became wary and the atmosphere was different; the confidence was no longer apparent in the faces of the Petchey
The taller, stronger Sedgehill were beginning to make their presence felt, making strong challenges and starting to control possession. Their most influential player Mario was starting to pull the strings and Sedgehill were starting to find gaps, in behind Petchey’s fullbacks. The domination in possession told when Sedgehill scored from an opportunistic break to make it. Mario picked up the ball on the left side of his own half and hit a long ball in behind the Petchey left back. The tall strong
centre forward showed his pace to race away from the Petchey back four to run onto the ball and smash it past the keeper to equalise 2-2.
Petchey restarted the game and two minutes later found themselves a goal down from a copy cat goal 2-3. Sedgehill were exploiting the pace of the back four.
Sam Johnson rung the changes and they showed instant effect. Edwin Olowe came on for Jahrane Bryan and went to right back.
Petchey then came back again to level the score to make it 3-3, with a wonderful floated ball by Edwin for Hasan to header pass the keeper.
With lack of concentration Petchey conceded to make the score 4-3, by that point the players heads went down for a split second and Sedgehill scored with 10 minutes to go. Petchey were 5-3 down but they showed great team spirit to keep going and with Hasan up top, he battled hard to win the ball from the centre and ran from the half way line to slot the ball past the goalkeeper with a bit of hesitation to make the score 5-4.
Petchey kept battling hard and pulled a goal back to make it 5-5 hat-trick for Hasan.
The game then went to extra time, were Petchey took the lead with Darius to make it 6-5. At that stage Petchey never looked back. With just 5 minutes Dion scored a magnificent goal that Ramires would have been proud of to seal the Lewis trophy for The Petchey Academy. This, along with his outstanding play throughout, secured him man of the match.
Well done lads!