4th May 2017
Congratulations to the York College/i2i Football Development Centre who have been crowned the ECFA (English Colleges Football Association) Champions 2017. In a rollercoaster match against Gower College Swansea, played at Bescot Stadium (home of Walsall FC), the Under 19s team clinched the title winning 5-4 on penalties, after the game finished 3-3 after extra time.
From the very start the tone of the game was set with York College taking the lead in just 1:34 seconds when Jack Simpson (formerly of Ryedale School) headed home from a David Barber (formerly of Manor C Academy) cross in the first attack of the game. In the following 45 minutes York College dominated the action, putting Gower on the back foot and ‘Man of the Match’ Joe Dunnett (formerly of Lady Lumley’s School, Pickering) scored a powerful header from a corner to make it 2-0 at half time.
The second half continued to entertain the fans, but it was Gower College who started brighter and in a mirror image of the first half scored within minutes of the restart. This saw a shift in momentum and another déjà vu moment when it was Gower’s turn to rise the highest and score a power header to square up the game. With York College visibly rattled, Gower went for the kill and inside the last 15 minutes took the lead with the goal of the game.
This sparked York College back in to action and it was Joe Dunnett again who coolly chipped the ball over the head of the on-rushing goalkeeper to score the equaliser minutes from time. Extra time beckoned and followed suit with the rest of the game with a plethora of chances for both sides being created and goalposts being struck on numerous occasions. The final act of the game came when York College captain Marcel Chigumira (formerly of the Cooperative Academy, Leeds) managed to work his way free to hit a blistering low shot destined for the bottom corner, only to be tipped on to the post by the Gower goalkeeper.
In a dramatic penalty shootout which saw both teams miss chances, it was left to Elliott Anderson (formerly of Caedmon School, Whitby) to coolly convert the winning penalty, which saw York College crowned ECFA National Champions, avenging last year’s defeat in the same competition.
York College Sports Development Centre Coordinator, Gaz Lee is extremely proud of the team’s achievements saying: “This cup victory is absolutely outstanding for the students involved with the College’s Football Development Programme. The work done by the College and our partners i2i Football Academy in making the Football Development Centre a national success cannot be underestimated. We provide an excellent education pathway and a successful football programme to enhance the students’ learning journey.”
During half time in the cup final two York College female football players Hannah Greenwood and Rosie Todd were presented with their ECFA National Team Caps in honour of them playing for the England Colleges National Team. It is a tremendous achievement to note that in the past 12 months the Football Development Centre at York College has reached three national cup finals (once at the ESFA and twice at the ECFA). The York College/i2i Football Development Centre has also helped four students become professional Footballers (twins - Ronaldo and Romario Vieira at Leeds Utd, Casey Stewart at Sheffield Utd and Alfie Beestin at Doncaster Rovers) and supported four female players in the Women’s Super League at Durham Wildcats.
If you would like to watch the game back, it was live streamed and saved to Youtube, please view it below: