BERKHAMSTED Raiders U9 Reds have been crowned West Herts League Challenge Cup champions in their first competitive season.
Raiders recovered from a goal down to defeat a spirited St Albans North side 2-1 after extra time in the final of the competition.
Managed by Raiders’ club coach Steve McHugh, the team also finished second in the West Herts Youth League Red Division - missing out on top spot by just one point - and were runners up in the West Herts Senior Cup.
“I am absolutely delighted that the boys have lifted the Challenge Cup in their last game of the season,” said McHugh, who is stepping down from the role of manager but continuing as Raiders’ club coach.
“They are a really talented team with a great spirit and this is a fitting end to a brilliant first competitive season for them.”
Raiders’ goalkeeper Freddie Whiter was the hero of the first half, saving a penalty and the subsequent rebound, but he could not prevent the side from going in at half-time trailing 1-0.
Led by captain Jack Moriarty, though, the team battled hard in the second half and their perseverance was rewarded with a fine equaliser from winger Charlie Smith.
St Albans fought hard in extra time but it proved to be Raiders’ day as Harry Gilks struck late on.
The talented youngster pounced on a lovely ball in from defender Ollie Blackborough to send an acrobatic overhead into the back of the net and seal the victory.