Beacon Colts Minor U18s were crowned champions of the Sunday Youth Challenge Cup on Sunday, following a hard-fought victory over Lyndon Colts U18s.
It was Lyndon Colts who got off to a flying start with just two minutes on the clock. A deep cross to the back post found Dan Starmer, whose crisp left-foot strike lashed into the roof of the net to give the underdogs the perfect start.
Beacon Colts seemed shocked and were on the back foot for most of the early exchanges. Starmer had a chance to double the lead after five minutes, but he miscued. Kori Edinborough was then played through on goal, only to see his effort saved by the feet of Luke Sinclair to keep Beacon Colts’ deficit at only one.
It was a promising start to the game, after Lyndon Colts had lost their other two meetings with Beacon Colts this season.
On nine minutes, Beacon Colts had their first chance of the game. A corner found Callum Doherty at the back stick, but his firm header was straight at goalkeeper Ryan Scott-Taggart.
It was a heated game early on, with referee Luke Murphy seemingly keen to let the match flow. A few tackles flew in whilst there was a feeling of genuine rivalry on the pitch.
Around the quarter-hour mark, Lyndon Colts were still in the ascendancy and forced a couple of corners in quick succession. Then the tricky Harry Crook won a corner at the other end, with the resulting delivery being cleared away by the diminutive Kyle Mansbridge.
Halfway into the first 45, Beacon Colts began to find their feet with some slick passing moves starting to emerge.
Reuben Chhokar got himself free down the left and stood up an enticing cross to the back post, which Crook could not quite reach.
Starmer saw a long-range strike sail wide on 25 minutes, as Lyndon Colts were reduced to efforts from distance.
And still the challenges continued to fly in, as the game became somewhat scrappy.
On 33 minutes, Chhokar lit up proceedings with a wonderful goal to bring the game level. From the right corner of the opposition box, he cut inside and took another touch to gain a yard of space before bending a left-foot effort inside the far post, giving Scott-Taggart no chance in Lyndon Colts’ goal.
Just before the break, the tricky Crook bombed down the left for Beacon Colts, but Mansbridge tracked back and managed to clear.
The second half began slowly, although Lyndon Colts were again the team who started most brightly.
Substitute Rio Graham was looking like a real handful, twice showing pace and power to almost create a chance for himself.
Crook was then nearly through on goal for Beacon Colts, only for a great covering tackle by George to see off the danger.
Josh Moore then showed great feet for Lyndon Colts, twice beating his man before looping an effort goalwards. Sinclair caught it easily, but was not far from falling into his net with the ball.
Chhokar then showed great feet to bring a difficult ball down and then play before feeding Crook, who was eventually flagged offside.
Robert Hanna utilised his excellent pace down the left for Beacon Colts. He teed up Jack Horton, who took too long to get a shot away.
The game seemed to be petering out, with the prospect of penalties becoming very real.
Until the 79th minute where a goal out came of nowhere to give Beacon Colts the lead. A frantic scramble in the box eventually led to a chance for Callum Shermer-Hall, who calmly poked the ball into the corner from six-yards out.
Lyndon Colts struggled to create an opportunity to equalise, as Beacon Colts began to control proceedings. Chhokar showed excellent vision to slip the ball through to Crook, whose effort was saved by Scott-Taggart.
Lyndon Colts did force a couple of late corners though. Ryan Birch headed one clear which fell to Fowle, who blazed over from the edge of the box.
Deep in injury time, tempers boiled over resulting in the referee producing a couple of yellow cards and a red for Jacob Fowle who, it would seem, was slightly unfortunate to be the player dismissed.
The game was done though, and Beacon Colts held on for a win which brought great pride to manager Chris Sinclair.
“To be fair, Paul’s got a good side there. We have played them three times now and got the better of them three times.
“We were finalists last year in the under-16s and before going up a year to the under-18s.
“To win that - with the sides we have beaten along the way - the lads have done really well.
“To bring the trophy back home to Great Barr is brilliant.”