Sunderland Primary Schools Boys were disappointed to miss out on cup final glory in their final match of a successful season – but can be proud of their efforts throughout a tremendous campaign.
Crowned league champions with an unbeaten record in the Harrison Cup, they went down to a 2-0 defeat in the Derwent and Medomsley Cup final to East Northumberland – their first defeat at any level of football this season.
The defeat prevented the Sunderland Primary Schools FA from retaining the trophy for a fifth consecutive season and an eighth time in nine seasons.
As well as securing the league title, the Boys also lifted the Peter Dunn Trophy and Durham County five-a-side Championship, while finishing as runners-up in the County seven-a-side despite not conceding a goal throughout the competition.
Manager Chris Lindstedt saluted his team, saying: “I would like to congratulate the boys on a fantastic season during which they have been a credit to themselves, their families, their schools and the Association.
“All 12 of the squad have been an absolute pleasure to work with and they have represented their city with a great sense of pride and a determination to squeeze every single moment out of their season as a ‘Sunderland Boy’ and we are very, very proud of them and their achievements this season.
“We would also like to thank the boys’ parents and grandparents for their support this season as none of the success the boys have achieved would have been possible without this support. It has been a real team effort and a pleasure for Stu Phoenix, Marty Richards and myself to be a part of.”
In the cup final, East Northumberland proved to be a very strong side and broke from defence with lightning speed.
They took the lead from one of these breaks midway through the first half. From a Sunderland corner kick, they broke and Sunderland keeper Ben McDonald dove bravely at the striker’s feet, but the ball broke to another forward, who fired into an empty net. Only a mixture of good defending and poor finishing kept the score at 1-0 at half-time.
The introduction of Ellis Cowell in midfield helped to give the Wearsiders a foothold and the boys were unlucky not to equalise shortly before half-time when a fine through ball released Lewis Lukeman, who finished with an excellent chip over the keeper’s head only to be flagged narrowly offside.
McDonald made a terrific save when he charged out to clatter an opposing forward in a 50-50 challenge to prevent a certain goal.
Sunderland struggled to break down a resolute defence, with the keeper saving a close-range effort from Harry Gardiner and Lucas Bullock only managing to lift the rebound onto the bar and over.
Right on time, a free-kick was flicked on by an East Noirth defender and into the far corner of the net to seal their victory.