Late Cheshire comeback sees FA County Youth Cup head north

Sunday 12 Apr 2015
The FA County Youth Cup
Three goals in the space of ten minutes from Ben Collins, Ben Greenop, and Jacob Evans sealed a remarkable late turnaround as Cheshire lifted The FA County Youth Cup at The Hive.

Middlesex had been 2-0 up until the 75th minute with goals from Ciaron Brown and Joe Jackson putting them in firm control until Cheshire's late wind-assisted charge saw them lift the trophy for the second time.

Middlesex got the afternoon off to the perfect start when they edged ahead with just five minutes gone. After racing out of the blocks, they won a free-kick outside the box and Ciaron Brown was there to slide the low delivery into the back of the net. The man from Spelthorne Sports had taken just a matter of minutes to make his mark on this final.

Middlesex 2 v 3 Cheshire

The FA County Youth Cup
The Final
Sunday 12 April 2015
The Hive, Barnet FC

The visitors showed maturity by steadying the ship, Niall Ford in particular proving strong in defence, where he stepped in to provide a couple of vital blocks as the last man, but they did nearly fell further behind ten minutes before the break, when goalkeeper Nathan Butler was forced to push over his own bar from Luke Bersey's crafty cross-goal header as pressure mounted.

Cheshire pressed back after the break, Charlie Livesey curling a 30 yard free-kick around the wall, keeping the stopper on his toes. But the hosts had other ideas and after Prince Mbengiu forced a corner, he was there to head just wide of the far post from the resulting delivery. And they turned the screw with a goal early in the second half, just as they had done in the first, when a teasing Darryl Sanders ball caused confusion when it was caught in a strong North London breeze. Bedfont Sports man Joe Jackson was on hand to steer into the back of the net and put Middlesex into a commanding position.

It could have been game over when Staines Town's Mbengiu had the ball in the net just after the hour mark, but his header was ruled out by referee Lee Swabey for a push – but from that moment on things were about to change dramatically.

Video highlights of the Final at the Hive, courtesy of the Middlesex FA

Ben Collins started the fightback after he conjured up a goal out of nothing with just 15 minutes left on the clock. The man from FA Cup giant-killers Warrington Town whipped a long-range right-footed effort right over the top of De Cruz and into the top corner, bringing the game back to life. The pendulum had well and truly swung, with Ben Greenop lashing home a deserved leveller just minutes later. A deep cross was not cleared and when the ball broke to the Chester FC youngster, there was no stopping his low drilled effort, and he was soon celebrating in front of the green and white fans.

Then came the winner, and it was a strike worthy of winning any final as Jacob Evans fired a missile-like effort into the top corner from just inside the opposition half to spark wild celebrations.

Middlesex: Tyler De Cruz, Karim Chaibi (Dean McDonnell 61 minutes, replaced by Jack Smith 88 minutes), Alex Fisher, Jordon Keeley, Ciaron Brown, Carl Pearce, Prince Mbengui, Luke Bersey, Dylan Kearney, Darryl Sanders (Antone Jarvis 73 minutes), Joe Jackson.

Subs not used: Phil Clarke, Sutcha Shepherd.

Cheshire: Nathan Butler, James Campion, Charlie Livesey (Sam Heathcote 72 minutes), Niall Ford, Sam Hughes, Jonathan Jones, Jacob Evans, Will Booth, Ben Collins, Ben Greenop, Harry Cain (James Clancy 62 minutes).

Subs not used: Harry Mates, Thomas Edwards, Ryan Edwards.

By Andy Lloyd-Williams Reporter at The Hive, Barnet FC