Coventry Copsewood U16 were crowned 2022 Saturday Minor Cup Champions as they ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. In the perfect setting, as Ray Hall Lane was basked in warm sunshine, the two teams lined up for their final game of the 2021/22 season.
Team Line Ups
Coventry Copsewood U16: 1 Mason, 5 Perkins, 23 Hollis, 14 Broad, 3 Anderson, 8 Lowe, 15 Reidy, 16 Friel, 6 Duffy, 17 Hands Wills, 11 Stewart. Subs: Davies, Currie, Osborn, Goma
Stratford Town U16: 1 Davies, 2 Thomas, 3 Taylor, 4 Waterfield, 5 Haywood, 6 Kitching, 7 Husson, 8 Flint, 9 Levy, 10 Poole, 16 Reid. Subs: Featherstone, Cardy, Kelman
In a game that could have swung either way, as Stratford had the better of the chances, it took until the last 10 minutes for Copsewood to secure their champions status.
It didn’t take long for the first goal however as the team in blue took advantage of poor defending at the back post from a corner as Friel found himself unmarked and able to tap the ball in from a yard out. Stratford were immediately on the front foot and had the remainder of the better chances in the first half with the first coming from a ball sent across the pitch from Stratford’s left but it evaded the striker before falling to Husson who got his shot off which was blocked by the defender and out for a corner.
The next chance bemused most spectators as none were quite sure how this one didn’t go in as Flint whipped the ball across from a free kick on the right and it was headed towards goal by Reid but somehow, after a goal line scramble, Copsewood defenders managed to slice the ball clear and away from danger. Then, Poole battled well to get the ball back on the edge of the box and as he tried to break free, he still got his shot off and it whistled just yards wide of the keepers far post, leaving Mason flat to the ground.
Husson, who was causing a fair amount of trouble for the Copsewood defence, broke through the midfield gap, and with little option elsewhere, tried his luck from 30 yards out but the shot floated over the top of Mason’s crossbar. The final chance of the first half also fell to Stratford and a ball swung in from the left was met by Levy at the far post as he got his head to it, but his effort went high over the bar and out for a goal kick without troubling the Copsewood defence.
The second half began with much of the same as the first, as Stratford found themselves going forward and Taylor knocked the ball back to Levy in the box who attempted to curl his shot into the far post, but it was just too wide to cause Mason any problems. The next time it was Copsewood with a chance to extend their lead as a corner was floated in and after a couple of headers, the ball dropped for Hands Wills who tried a first-time volley from just inside the box, but his left-footed strike went well over and out for a Stratford goal kick.
With Copsewood’s midfield stretched, Stratford had another opportunity to grab the equaliser but after the ball was sent through to Husson, his shot was well blocked by the defender and once again, the danger was cleared. A ball over the top this time as Stratford kept on knocking and causing more than enough trouble for Copsewood’s defence, and it was Levy who latched onto the end of it. He flashed the ball towards the goal and an acrobatic backwards save from Mason was the only thing in the way of him scoring.
Thick and fast, Stratford had their next chance and it fell to Husson who found himself in acres of space in the six-yard box as he got on the end of a wicked cross across goal, but his first-time effort was comfortable for Mason who gathered and dropped to the floor. As we were nearing on full time, Copsewood had a chance to extend the lead and put the game beyond Stratford’s reach, but Lowe’s effort was wild, and Davies watched it fly over his crossbar. It was the next chance however that Copsewood would take advantage of as Hands Wills picked the ball up on the 72nd minute, around 30 yards out, drove forward and central before unleashing a strike at goal. As a Stratford defender tried to block it, instead, his header would deflect the ball up and over Davies into the net to make the score 2-0.
Their second goal had given Copsewood a new lease of life as they almost had their third when the corner was swung in and unmarked Reidy flashed his header just wide of the post. Stratford were still trying to get themselves back into the game with minimal time left, and they had one last chance as Poole picked the ball up from a throw in on the edge of the box and he turned and let fly but his effort skimmed across the pitch and comfortably past Mason’s post. In the final stages of the match and the clock showing 80+ minutes, Copsewood got their third and secured their status as champions. A ball from the right wing across the box was deflected to the edge and in acres of space, Duffy pounced on it and drove the ball neatly into the bottom right corner of the goal. Both players and coaches wheeled away in celebration, knowing they had secured the victory.
They weren’t done there as they went in search for a fourth and a convincing win, but this time, Davies was equal to Hands Wills strike from 20 yards out as he pushed it away to safety. Referee, Jack Shepherd, blew his whistle after that effort and brought an end to the entertaining tie where Coventry Copsewood U16’s eventually sealed the win with two goals in the last 10 minutes.
The two clubs had nominated their individual worthy of the Club Volunteer award which saw Karla Cozza and David Herdman pick up the awards for Coventry Copsewood U16 and Stratford Town U16 respectively.
The man of the match was Coventry Copsewood’s number 23, Lee Hollis.
You can view the official photographs taken by Focus Dunn Sports Photography by clicking here.
Extended highlights of the Cup Final can be watched below: