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A real Thorn in the side!
BELTHORN Primary School have triumphed for the fourth consecutive year in the seventh Accrington and District Primary School’s Cup.
The cup holders proved to be just too four-midable for their opponents – but only after they lost their opening game of the tournament to previous winners, St Mary’s from Oswaldtwistle.
Organisers were hoping for a record turn-out of year four, five and six pupils but their original date was a washout and many teams could not make the rearranged date due to other commitments.
However, for those schools who did attend, it was a day to remember. Teams were split into two groups with the top two from each going through to the semi finals. The first round of fixtures saw two of the pre-tournament favourites endure mixed fortunes.
While Peel Park started with a resounded 4-0 victory against West End, three-times winners Belthorn went down 1-0 to St Mary’s Oswaldtwistle. “We did everything that we could but put the ball in the back of the net,” said Belthorn teacher, Liam Noon, after the shock defeat.
The second round of games were another mixed bag with Moor End netting five against a plucky Great Harwood Primary School and a very young Green Haworth team putting in an excellent display in a 1-1 draw with St Peters. Belthorn got their defence of the title back on track after beating Baxenden St Johns 2-0.
At the end of the group stages, high-scoring Peel Park topped their group with West End as runners-up and St Mary’s seeing off Belthorn into second place in group one. In the opening semi final, West End came out 1-0 winners against St Mary’s, in a hard-fought encounter.
But the game of the day was the clash between Peel Park and Belthorn. Peel Park carried on their fine group form and took and early lead and appeared to be on course for their first final appearance. But with only a minute left, Belthorn were awarded a penalty for handball, which was cooly dispatched by Josh Steele.
That forced extra time and with the match seemingly heading for a nerve-jangling penalty shoot-out, that man Steele struck again, this time sweeping the ball home from a sweetly struck free kick – much to the delight of his team-mates and to the dismay of Peel Park.
Peel Park teacher Sharon Ogden said: “We had a strong team this year and thought we had every chance but it was just not to be this time.”
Some consolation for Peel Park was that that they won the third place play-off against St Mary’s. The final paired first-time finalists West End against the holders Belthorn.
And in an end-to-end thriller, it was Belthorn who came through to win 2-0 thanks to a brace from hero Steele.
Organiser Gary Lee, a PE teacher at The Hollins said: “A great day was had by all and there was some fantastic football played. “The level in getting better each year and our year 10 GCSE PE students who officiated the games were some of our best yet.”