Bottesford Town FC KM U14 have become the 2023 Lincolnshire FA County U14 Boys’ Cup Sponsored By Onyx Trophies Champions after beating Boston United Community FC U14 Academy in a thrilling final at Sleaford Town’s Eslaforde Park.
Kenny McGready’s side took a 2-0 win with two early goals from Hayden Shipley and Oli Barrett and avenged their 2022 County Cup Final heartbreak with a result that Bottesford Town manager described as “absolutely amazing”.
“Last year we got to the final playing a year up and lost to Seven Seas 7-4, so the experience from last year was fantastic and has helped the boys for this year’s final, which was a very tense at times. Both teams didn’t play their best, but it was very tense, and I think that just got the boys through it.”
“The two early goals really settled us down from two corners. It got a bit scrappy from both sides, but it is what it is, that’s what finals are like and it’s a lot of pressure for both teams.”
Bottesford Town started the stronger of the two sides, with Zak Robinson getting an early effort away but placing it just wide of the Boston goal. A minute later, a long ball nearly bounced over the head of Boston United keeper, Alex Barker, but he got a big hand to it to tip the ball over the bar and out for a corner.
The ball was then whipped in and met by the head of Bottesford number 4, Oli Barrett, though his header was saved by Alex Barker before falling to the feet of Hayden Shipley who simply had to hammer it home and give Bottesford the lead inside 3 minutes.
Just 3 minutes later, Bottesford doubled their lead with another corner and this time Oli Barrett found the back of the net with a superb headed effort from the number 4.
It took 19 minutes for Boston United, who had mainly been pinned back into their own half until this point, to have their first effort at the Bottesford target when Archie Stow had a low but powerful effort in an attempt to find the bottom right corner, however his shot was narrowly wide of the target. It did however show that Boston could threaten going forward and was the confidence boost they needed to take the game to Bottesford – who had been superb thus far.
Boston then made their presence known in the game as an onslaught of attacks advanced on the Bottesford target, a few high and wide of the target but the best chance coming from an Archie Stow header that was subsequently caught by Alex Jubber, but enough to make the Bottesford Town keeper have to work.
Shortly after, Alex Goldby was played through with a great long ball, but it had just a tad too much on it and it was collected by Alex Jubber before Goldby could get a toe on it. Bottesford went into the half time break holding on to their 2-0 advantage and in the driving seat.
The blues came out of the blocks in the 2nd half in a similar way to what they did in the first, on the front foot and looking threatening. Hayden Shipley came close to securing his 2nd with a hit that was dragged just wide of the bottom corner.
The game became a scrappy, midfield battle with both sides understanding the importance a goal either way could have – however little in the way of real chances materialised. Boston’s secret weapon of Tom Woods’ incredible long throw almost caught Bottesford out as the throw met the head of Joshua Dickinson, but was just too high of the target.
Bottesford retaliated with a very long range effort from Tyler McGready’s free kick that very nearly caught Alex Barker off guard, but the Boston keeper found a way to catch it and just about held on to keep the ball out his net.
A late chance from Boston’s Alex Milczak couldn’t be converted as he came one-on-one with Alex Jubber, attempting to lift it over the Bottesford keeper. The shot was wide of the target and ended the last threat of the game, which then saw the full time whistle blown and Bottesford Town crowned champions.
Bottesford Town’s Matty Fletcher was awarded the Player of the Match trophy by Steve Walker from Onyx Trophies, and the match officials were Crystal Lam, Jon Ashworth-Sears, William Ruddock, and Matthew Mantle.
Photo Credit: Ed Mayes Photography