Sanders saves from the spot to clinch National Futsal crown

Vandyke
Vandyke

Vandyke celebrated a penalty shoot-out victory over Tunbridge Wells Grammar School to be crowned the National Futsal champions.

Harrison Sanders saved the first two penalties to put Vandyke in the ascendency after a 3-3 draw, leaving Ed Horne to smash home the decisive spot kick to secure the title for Vandyke.

The U15s side have been in sensational form all season, progressing through the South Bedfordshire District competition, Bedfordshire finals and the regional finals to reach this prestigious showcase final held in the National Futsal Dome at St George’s Park.

Tunbridge Wells were just as much of a force though, meaning the final would be a closely fought occasion - and so it played out.

Tunbridge took the lead before the break and then doubled their tally early into the second half. Despite several good chances for Vandyke the ball somehow stayed out the of the Wells net.

A combination of great saves from the Tunbridge goalkeeper and excellent defensive work kept Vandyke at bay.

With six minutes remaining though, captain and top scorer James McGlinchey pulled a goal back, and it sparked the game into life.

The game was tied when Josh Hatton crossed to Kenzie Cross who headed into the goal from close range not long later.

The elation of the goal in the dying minutes was replaced with despair when with just three minutes remaining in the second period of extra time Tunbridge Wells scored what looked to be the winning goal - a horribly deflected goal left keeper Sanders with no chance.

The Vandyke squad though have developed great resolve and they refuse to be beaten and it culminated in the final minute of the game.

With the last chance of the game McGlinchey grabbed his second sending the team and supporters into delirium.

So the final would go down to penalties, and with Harrison saving the opening two Tunbridge penalties, either side of Alfie Leach’s conversion, it was left to Horne to fire home the winner.

Tudor Lewis, Chairman of Bedfordshire Schools Football, said: “It was a wonderful occasion and deserved outcome for Vandyke.

“In the past 50 years only one Bedfordshire school has ever lifted a National football trophy. Congratulations to this history making team.”