SMALL SCHOOLS’ TROPHY
Middle School 2
St Bernard’s Grammer School (Slough) 1 (aet)
Great Cornard Middle School overcame a nerve-jangling period of extra-time to fire their way into the last four of the ESFA Under-13s Small Schools’ Trophy.
With the whole school roaring them on from the sidelines, Cornard had to come from 1-0 down after a disappointing opening 45 minutes when they found themselves having to withstand heavy pressure.
But, after the break, they were much improved and the vital equaliser came within 10 minutes of the restart when Loius Appleby went on a mazy run down the left-hand side and provided a smart cross for Drew Olley to turn in from inside the area.
There were no further goals as stout defending at both ends then ensuring the tie went beyond 90 minutes.
Just three minutes into the extended time, the home crowd erupted when Arron Pengelly’s 35-yard free-kick rattled the crossbar and went in off the opposition goalkeeper.
With time ticking down, Cornard’s Ryan Brace had to put in an outstanding save one minute from the end to save the game going to penalties.
Great Cornard celebrated reaching the semi-finals of the competition after receiving a bye in the first round due to winning the competition at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road only last year.
PE teacher Ralph Pruden’s side negotiated their way past Bury St Edmunds outfit Westley in round two, winning 3-2, and thrashed Ursuline College in Thanet, Kent, 9-2.
In round four they won 4-0 at Sheringham High School in north Norfolk and in Beford in round five it took extra-time to see off Arnold Academy 2-1.
The other teams remaining in the draw are as far away as Northumberland and Chester, so Cornard are hoping for a home draw, which was supposed to be made on Monday, but was yet to be published at the time of going to press.