Woods PASE Academy completed a remarkable National League and Cup treble yesterday, by winning the National League Play off Final against a very strong Maidstone side.
The game was held at Gander Green Lane, the home of Sutton United and played in sweltering heat, but this didn’t deter our young Academy side who put on a second half performance which simply sums up their season.
This is possibly the most prestigious of the National League finals, as the Play Offs are contested by all the 10 regional league winners out of 140 teams from up and down the country.
After winning our regional league our U19s went on to beat AFC Halifax 3-2, AFC Hornchurch 5-2 and then the much fancied Luton Town outfit 3-0 on route to the Champion of Champions cup final. Match favourites Maidstone United who had beaten Boston United 12-0 on route to the final lay in wait and they were certainly never going to be a push over.
It was in fact Maidstone took an early lead with a fantastic finish from a tight angle, which saw Wood for third time in the last four games fall behind. Yet again though a fantastic reaction saw the boys go in level at the break, when Joshua Coldicott-Stevens beautifully curled in a free kick from 20 yards out.
The second half started in similar same vain with Maidstone again taking the lead with a close range header. This though seemed to galvanise young Wood as they scored three unanswered goals of real quality to seal the win.
Firstly, Alex Morgan`s excellent cross was tapped in from close range by Bradley Sach. The second came from a cute ball played forward by Frank Keita into Sach`s path, the forward kept his nerve and slotted past the keeper to put Wood in front for the first time in the tie. The game was then put out of Maidstone`s reach when Sach wrapped a pass into Sorba Thomas`s path and he cleverly let it go through his legs and Keita drove into the box to smash home and give the Wood an unassailable two goal lead.
Our academy’s season is now complete and having won their National regional League, the ECFA National Cup and The National League ‘Champion of Champions Play Offs it could not of gone better..
The U19s manager Cameron Mawer commented after “Everyone associated with the club should be so proud of this set of boys. They have now set a bench mark for future groups and again their character and will to win has exceeded even my expectation. To complete the treble at under 19 level is fantastic and yesterdays win perhaps makes us the best side in the country, even if it’s just for one day”..
Mawer added “Our focus now moves quickly to next year. We had 10 first year boys in the squad and only 2 second years, the lads can now go away on their holidays, forget about football and come back ready for a big year next year as we look to continue to progress. For anyone out there reading this, we are still in our recruitment process and looking for players with the right attitude; discipline and desire, if that is you then pick the phone up and come to the next trial”