Under 16 London Championship final
October 16, 2014
Under 16 London Championship final (2014)
Dulwich Harps 1-02
At an autumnal Ruislip and watched by a lively crowd Parnells under 16âs added the County Championship to the League silverware already secured.
The final score may have been a bit harsh on a Dulwich side that never stopped trying but in truth this was a comprehensive victory for the young Parnells men astutely marshalled by Gerry Curran and Derek Morley.
With both sets of players slipping a lot on the damp surface the early stages were frantic with both teams finding it difficult to settle.
Parnells were first to get into their stride and began dominating possession. Callum Reybould, Jack Wolfe and Josh Obahor were vigilant and strong in the backs and Dulwich who played with a third midfielder were finding it hard to get through. The imperious Conor Spinks was lording it around the middle and earning frees from some excellent runs. He duly opened the scoring, pointing his own free from 30 yards. Andrew Gilroy was showing his intelligence on the ball and it was his excellent turnover that led to the first goal as he expertly fed the onrushing Spinks who rounded two defenders before finishing coolly to the net. Andrew as full forward also got in on the act scoring a lovely point from play. Spinks made amends for an earlier miss and converted a 45 to raise a white flag and shortly afterwards Gilroy found himself in space which he galloped into and when in range accurately stroked the ball over the bar.
In between these scores from the Harrow boys Dulwich did manage to register their first point but it was not looking good for them and a gap of six points had opened up. To their credit they kept persevering and shortly after rattling the Parnells post they got their reward. A high ball into the square and for the first time the Parnells defence was outwitted. The referee correctly awarded a penalty for a despairing tug on the jersey of the Dulwich sharpshooter who was just about to pull the trigger.
The penalty was converted and as the referee signalled half time the Parnells boys would have been disappointed to have let Dulwich back into the game with just one goal now separating the sides.
Despite playing against the stiffening breeze Parnells started the second half with purpose and Spinks now had competition for the supportersâ cheers. Ciaran OâDonoghue was winning his battles, Gilroy continued to torment his markers and Harry Logan having been brought on late in the first half strengthened the central spine of Parnells. Dulwich could only stem the flow by conceding frees. Spinks duly obliged and a four point lead was established.
JP Roche who was introduced at half time won a fantastic turnover out around the middle, pick pocketing the Dulwich counter attack and transferring the ball to Spinks whose goal bound shot was spilled by the hapless Dulwich goalie and finished to the net by the enthusiastic Logan.
There was more agony to come for Dulwich though as almost immediately Logan collected possession and drove the ball to the back of the net to register his second goal in as many minutes.
Dulwich were shell shocked but kept applying themselves and but for some robust defending by the excellent Parnells back six would have made inroads on what was now a ten point deficit.
Possibly because of their heroic efforts Dulwich began to leave gaps in the their defence and with Logan now operating out around the middle of the field , Ciaran OâDonoghue and Spinks exploited the gaps, with the former rattling the crossbar with a blistering shot and the latter going one better finding the net after a trademark run. OâDonoghue had already registered on the scoreboard as the galloping Harry fed him the ball on the overlap which he planted firmly over the bar. The industrious and impressive JP hit a lovely cross field pass to Alan Callanan who made sure the sublime pass was rewarded with a neat point from 25 yards.
Dulwich were beaten and Parnells were deserving champions.
The referee had an excellent game and this was acknowledged by both sets of players and supporters during the presentation of the cup by Tony Griffin to Conor Spinks, the victorious captain.