Rock-solid Sunderland Primary Boys secure County seven-a-side title

Sunderland Primary Schools Boys' title-winning seven-a-side squad
Sunderland Primary Schools Boys' title-winning seven-a-side squad
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Sunderland Primary Schools Boys regained the Durham County Schools FA seven-a-side championship, winning the title for the fourth time in six seasons.

The young Wearsiders were determined from the off at Biddick Academy to land the trophy, following Chester-le-Street’s success last year.

An outstanding run of five clean sheets in the round-robin event, with impressive defending from skipper Joe Errington and Eden Page in front of keeper Ethan Baillie, was the catalyst for Sunderland’s triumph.

Sunderland dominated the opening game against holders Chester-le-Street but had to be content with a solitary goal from Josh Martin, who secured a 1-0 victory with a fine finish.

The second round of games saw a clash with old adversaries South Tyneside, and a second consecutive 1-0 victory was secured courtesy of a well-taken left-footed strike from Jake Hutchinson, who finished clinically after being released by a fine ball from Oliver Thompson.

Ellis Stanton unlocked the Durham City defence in the next game with a fine strike from distance which arrowed past the keeper and nestled into the bottom corner, before Martin secured a 2-0 victory with a cool, close-range finish.

The boys also won 2-0 in the fourth game against Washington. Aneat strike from Daniel Collins gave them the lead before Bryan Taylor wrapped the points up, firing a left-footed shot across the keeper and into the far corner.

The final game against Darlington would decide the championship, with Sunderland boasting 12 points out of 12 and Darlington, having dropped two points in a 0-0 draw against Durham, needing to win to secure the title for themselves.

Sunderland were indebted to a magnificent save from keeper Baillie, who adjusted his feet superbly to stop a deflected shot from close rangE.

Despite Darlington needing to win, it was Sunderland who looked the likeliest to score, with Hutchinson just firing wide after a surging run and Stanton forcing a great save from the keeper, courtesy of a thunderbolt free-kick.

With Eden Page superbly marshalling Darlington’s most dangerous player, Sunderland thought they had won it when Collins pulled the ball back from the by-line for Martin to shoot home, only for the referee to adjudge that the ball had crossed the line before Collins got to it.

With no further chances at either end, Sunderland saw the game out to secure the draw needed to clinch the championship.

Skipper Joe Errington accepted the trophy on behalf of the squad from Durham County Schools secretary Tom Baker for the Sunderland Primary Schools FA’s second trophy of the season.