National glory for Dacorum starlets

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Dacorum Schools U15 2

Mid Oxon Schools U15 1

DACORUM have been crowned national football champions after an extra-time victory over Mid Oxon in the final of the prestigious U15 Inter-Association Trophy.

The side beat off competition from 138 teams to lift the trophy, and took the title in front of a crowd of 1,025 at Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium.

It is the first time a Dacorum side has ever won the competition.

Kai Lewis was the hero for Dacorum in the final, as his brace sealed the win after the side had fallen behind in the first half.

Lewis bagged the equaliser midway through the second half, before striking deep into extra-time to earn the momentous victory.

“I’m so proud,” said joint manager Paul Bryson, a teacher at Hemel School.

“It was their last game ever together as a team and the big crowd gave them the send-off they deserved.”

In truth, Dacorum started the game nervously, and will have been pleased to go into half-time trailing by just one goal after struggling against the Mid Oxon wide men.

They came out after the interval with renewed vigour, though, and found their feet in the match as their confidence visibly view.

Midway through the half, Dacorum were back on level terms courtesy of Lewis’ first effort.

The talented youngster picked up the ball on the edge of the area, before unleashing a low, left-footed drive into the corner of the net to restore parity.

There were further chances as the game progressed, but neither team managed to find the net and the match moved into extra-time.

The game continued to flow from end-to-end, but seemed to be heading to penalties until Lewis struck again to snatch the win.

A corner was launched into the area, and Lewis rose highest to head the ball against the crossbar and down over the line to give his side the crucial advantage and bag the trophy.

“As a team they’ve gelled really well and they just really wanted to win for each other,” said Bryson, who manages the team alongside Longdean School teacher James Heward.

“We were one of the smallest districts to enter the tournament but we are really fortunate that we have a good group of boys who have all come through together,”