By Liam Moakes Tuesday 20 November 2012 Updated: 26/11 14:47
THE REDDITCH United Schools Cup is back in the hands of Walkwood Middle School after a thrilling final at the home of the Reds on Monday night.
In what was the third staging of the Schools Cup final, Walkwood clinched a thrilling 3-2 victory over a St Bede's Middle School team who were bidding to retain the crown for their school, after Walkwood had won the inaugural final in 2010.
Monday's match, which was rearranged after a waterlogged pitch saw the previous week's originally scheduled game postponed, produced the most exciting final yet in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd.
The first 20 minutes were evenly balanced, with both goalkeepers called into action to keep the match goalless.
The game really came to life after 25 minutes with a glorious goal by Walkwood's Matt Smith, who picked up the ball in midfield and went past two defenders before scoring with a scorcher from 25 yards.
To the delight of the Walkwood supporters, he added a second goal a few minutes later with another powerful shot from distance to give Walkwood a 2-0 lead before a good save by Walkwood keeper Jack Davis prevented St Bede's from pulling one back before half time.
In the second half Walkwood continued to look dangerous with some fast attacks and had a goal disallowed because of a foul.
St Bede's, however, kept plugging away and were rewarded midway through the second half when a sweeping move from defence to attack led to a penalty which was scored by Sam Bevan.
This gave St Bede's added confidence as they pushed for an equaliser, but gradually Walkwood fought back and threatened to increase their lead and they had another effort chalked off for offside.
They did make it 3-1 25 minutes into the second half when Smith raced down the right and put over a great cross which was met with a spectacular flying header by Jack Nicholls.
St Bede's showed great character in refusing to give up the cup easily as they pushed forward again and Josh Rust slotted home coolly to make it 3-2 and set up an exciting finish with end to end action.
St Bede's keeper Ben Johnson saved in a goalmouth scramble at one end before a St Bede's corner was headed over at the other, but Walkwood held on to regain the trophy.
The medals and cup - supplied by Bromsgrove and Redditch Trophies - were presented by Reds' chairman Chris Swan, who praised the manner in which the game had been played and thanked the spectators for their support.
The man of the match award went to Smith for a commanding performance in midfield for Walkwood, scoring two marvellous goals and creating the winner.
The game was a great advert for school sports and a very worthwhile event - linking Redditch United and the community - and next year's final is already being looked forward to.
The Schools Cup was first organised in 2010 by TRUST (Redditch United Supporters Club) in liaison with the club and Redditch Sports Partnership.
The competition sees year eight teams from the middle schools in Redditch play each other in two leagues organised by Redditch Sports Partnership, with a play-off to decide who goes through to the final.
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