FSA PRO Leicester travelled to AFC Sudbury, to compete in the ECFA National Cup Semi Final knowing a win could potentially pair them against FSA PRO London in the final.
It was always going to be a tough test against a strong, well organised AFC Sudbury side, however our scholars came up with the goods and put in a fantastic and professional performance.
FSA started the first half on the front foot, pressing the Sudbury midfield and denying them space to play through the thirds. This allowed FSA to get into a good rhythm and dominate the opening stages. The first major talking point of the game came very early, as Aaron Nuttall was brought down inside the box as he was going through 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper. The referee blew up instantly and pointed to the spot, however the linesman was signalling for attention. He had judged the foul to be outside the box, FSA excepted this immediately but then the decision to be a free kick and a red card to the Sudbury central defender, but this wasn’t the case, the referee awarded a free kick and only a yellow card to the defender. Video evidence would suggest otherwise.
FSA PRO continued to apply pressure and looked dangerous on every attack, and were awarded a free kick 25 yards out. What looked like a crossing position, Joseph Opoku had other ideas, as he whipped the ball to the near post and into the back of the net. 1-0 FSA and nothing less than deserved. The game then settled down for 10 minutes, but after a late tackle by Sudbury on the edge of the box, a scuffle broke out and the Sudbury player head butted FSA player Harry Smith right in the eye sight of the referee. He was left with no choice but to send the Sudbury defender off sending them down to 10 men just before the half time break.
FSA knew that Sudbury wouldn’t back down and would be up for the fight, but so where our scholars and they continued to work hard, show great determination and fight. The second half passed by with little chances created by either team, but after a well worked free kick Ben White crossed into Charley Kilburn who took the ball down on his chest and volleyed the ball home into the bottom corner, 2-0 FSA PRO with 80 minutes gone. FSA stood up to this pressure and ran the clock down brilliantly, keeping possession of the ball and cleared the ball with distance slowing the game down as much as possible. After 6 minutes of added time the referee blew the whistle and it was victory for FSA and time for celebration.
It was a fantastic and professional display from FSA PRO Leicester and an incredible achievement not only to get one team into the final, but to get both Leicester and London academies into a National Final is truly remarkable. it is something that may never be matched again and we are immensely proud of everyone involved.
The ECFA National Final will take place on Wednesday 4th May at the Etihad Complex in Manchester. It will be a fantastic day our for everyone involved in FSA and a day that will truly go down in our academies history.
Full Time: AFC Sudbury 0-2 FSA PRO Leicester
Man of the Match: Ben White