Year 11 County Cup

Tuesday 5th March held another game for our year 11 football team. All the boys arrived in to school early that morning as Coach Corbett wanted to rally the troops and get spirits running high again after the previous heartache in the national cup game the week before. We were all treated to a breakfast; thankfully this boosted the vibe of the whole team before our crucial county cup semi-final against Dorothy Stringer just hours later.
The game begun and Durrington were confident as we had previously beaten our opponents; however the team knew we couldn’t afford to be complacent as they were a very strong outfit. We dominated the early part of the game creating chance after chance, however great link up play between the front four of Mitchell Hartley, Conor Chaplin, Jordan Burgess and Barney Bryer didn’t pay the deserved rewards as the finishing was below par from Conor Chaplin on a number of occasions. Stringer enjoyed a spell of ten minute pressure and unfortunately the back five of Lee Whittaker, James Pike, Mathew Smith (captain), Jimmy Punter and David Beaney which had been solid all season were broken down from another long ball over the top which has proved to be our achilles heel throughout the season. Consequently Dorothy Stringer took a shock first half lead of 1-0.
The second half followed the same pattern as the midfield two of Scott Goodman and Ellis Wilson were building up good attacks for the front four however the finishing touch which had been missing still hadn’t been found. Coach Corbett made changes as Jacob Bassett and Mathew Rigglesworth came on and mixed things up. With added pace up front from Matt we looked more dangerous in behind the opposition defence. Evidently that in the last minute of normal time Conor Chaplin spotted the run of Mathew Rigglesworth who touched it on to Mitchell Hartley to finish and crab a well-deserved last gasp equaliser. Emotions were running high and the team celebrated as if we had won the game. Although we all knew there was a long way to go yet.
The game had advanced into extra time and both teams had put their all into the game and were running on empty, this meant that there was more space on the pitch which helped the ball players of Durrington an awful lot. After five or so minutes into extra time Durrington took the lead for the first time in the game when a giant throw from Jacob Basset found the chest of Conor Chaplin in the penalty area who managed to turn and fire a right footed shot past the near post of Stringer’s ‘keeper. Half time in extra time read the score line Durrington 2-1 Dorothy Stringer.
The referee ensured there was a swift change of ends and the second half of extra time began. Durrington continued to have most of the ball and it proved crucial when Mitchell Hartley hooked the ball forward over the Stinger defence which found Conor Chaplin to blast in his second and Durrington’s third. With only 5 minutes to go of the game Durrington knew that with a two goal lead the game was effectively won, however we had to remain professional and stay tight as a group to ensure Stringer couldn’t get through. We done exactly that and with the final whistle imminent, Stringer made a defensive mistake due to tired legs and tired minds which allowed Conor Chaplin through 1v1 to round the keeper and slot into an empty net which gave him his hat-trick and ensured Durrington went through to the final of the County Cup.
Durrington 4-1 Dorothy Stringer.