The 2022/23 Birmingham FA College League came to a conclusion on Wednesday 24th May.
Back in September 13 teams began their journey split across two divisions.
The Wednesday league, also known as the College Union, hosted eight sides. In a traditional league format which ran until late February, Invictus Education Trust displayed a near-perfect record by recording eight wins from a possible nine outings. Burton Albion and Redditch United both notched up six victories, whereas Rugby Borough came away with 14 points from 10 fixtures. University College Birmingham came home in fifth with Next Generation following closely behind, with Tudor Grange and Ormiston Academies completing the Union league table.
Elsewhere, the Friday league, also known as the College Alliance, hosted five clubs. In the opening round, Mickleover came away with five wins from five whilst Steven Gerrard Academy notched up three victories to stay ahead ahead of Birmingham City Community Trust, Aston Villa Foundation and Derby County, who all found wins harder to come by.
The regular league season finished just before March, when teams took the opportunity to play other sides before the knockout stages began in April. Upon entering the knockout stages, each side was seeded based upon their points tally amassed during the regular league season. In the first round Rugby Borough, Tudor Grange Academy, Aston Villa, Steven Gerrard Academy and Next Generation all emerged victorious and qualified for the quarter finals.
The four quarter final fixtures produced some fantastic results: Burton Albion saw off Aston Villa; Rugby Borough won a closely contested game at Redditch United; Invictus toppled Steven Gerrard Academy and Next Generation came out on top thanks to a 4-3 win away at Tudor Grange Academy.
The scene was now set for the semi finals, which Rugby and Next Generation come out on top in their respective matches to book their place in the final at Kilsby Lane, Rugby's home ground.
At 2pm, on a beautifully warm day, referee Steven White got the game underway, and the game was a closely-fought contest in the early stages of the first half, with the main highlight being a fantastic double save from the Next Generation keeper.
The deadlock was broken on 42 minutes when, following a superb build-up, Craig Murunganwa struck low to give the hosts the lead on half-time.
Next Generation reacted well to that blow and, just 10 minutes after the restart, they made it 1-1. However, the lead lasted little more than five minutes as Rugby midfielder Ruben Lee Stringer scored a superb solo effort to give his side the advantage once more.
But, Next Generation again showed great spirit to get back in the game, equalising on the 74th minute.
The match seemed to be destined for penalties, but there was still drama to come in the final few minutes.
Next Generation looked like they had completed their comeback when they scored what seemed to be a last-minute winner. However, in a game full of comebacks, Rugby's Warren Onfroy slammed the ball home from five yards to take the game to penalties.
Both sides made perfect starts to the shootout - scoring each of their first four penalties, but Rugby 'keeper Piedade made an excellent save to deny Next Generation their fifth goal of the shootout. It was now down to Milan Polowiec to score Rugby's final spot kick to win his side the BCFA College League trophy, which he duly did with an effort into the bottom left-hand corner.
A fantastic, and dramatic way, to round off the first BCFA College League campaign.