A Houghton team has reached the national finals of the English Schools Football Association’s Elite Schools Cup.
Kepier U14 Elite Academy beat Shropshire’s Thomas Telford School 2-0 in the semi-final to set up a North v South clash, with the Houghton School facing opponents from either Croydon or Watford in the final.
Reaching the climax of the prestigious event is a major coup for Kepier having started out among nearly 50 of the best footballing centres in England at the start of the competition.
Former Sunderland star Martin Scott’s Improtech Soccer company gives specialised football coaching in Kepier with a view to taking the best young players in the area and working on their skills.
And the Kepier Academy has enjoyed great success in recent years, with a string of players going on to win contracts at professional clubs.
Now, the school’s reputation has been enhanced further by the efforts of the U14s successfully coming through five rounds of the contest against the best young schools teams in the country.
Nicky Cooper, Principal of Kepier, said: “The boys have been a credit to the school and a great advert for the strength of our football academy. The whole school will wish them every success in the final.”
Scott said: “We’re absolutely thrilled with the lads’ efforts and they really produced a great performance in the semi-final when they could have cracked under early pressure.
“Instead, they showed real composure and thoroughly deserved their victory in a hard-fought game against a physically stronger side”
Thomas Telford School started the semi-final well on Kepier’s 3G pitch but the home side took the lead 15 minutes into the game when Kyle Crossley latched on to a through-ball and rifled home.
Kepier cemented their lead shortly before the hour when Liam Dunn found space in the box to convert a chance to make it 2-0 and his side were able to see the remainder of the game out comfortably.
Kepier now face the winners of the other semi-final, a game between Whitgift School, Croydon, and Queens’ School, Watford, who meet on February 20, with the final set to be played at a Football League ground to be announced.