Ability Counts team sweep all before them

St Albans City Youth Disability Football Club returned home triumphant from the Football Association s Ability Counts National Finals winning the trophy in the Championship category. The seven-a-side tournament was held at the David Beckham Academy in Gr

St Albans City Youth Disability Football Club returned home triumphant from the Football Association's Ability Counts National Finals winning the trophy in the Championship category.

The seven-a-side tournament was held at the David Beckham Academy in Greenwich, London, drawing teams from around the country with City representing the South East region having won a qualifying tournament at the beginning of July.

City were drawn in a group with CP Sheffield, Everton DFC and Chelsea and got off to a slow start losing 4-0 to Sheffield after a poor performance all round. The second game was against Everton and City found their form. An early goal from Pete Bishop settled the nerves although Everton were able to equalise.

City were soon back in front with Rob Drew finishing from close range and a third followed with Kieron O'Kane finishing coolly.


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The second half continued in the same vein with Anthony Roche finishing from an O'Kane pass and Drew scoring a fine solo effort to seal a 5-1 win. City entered the final group game against Chelsea knowing that a win would guarantee a place in the semi finals. City dominated the game and would have won by a wider margin but for the Chelsea goalkeeper and in the end City they had to settle for a 1-0 win with Roche crashing home.

The semi-finals pitted City against a strong Phoenix DFC side from Herefordshire. City scored early after another fine goal from Drew who burst past two defenders before shooting low into the far corner with his left foot. Phoenix dominated possession but were repeatedly frustrated.

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As the half progressed City's defending became more desperate and Phoenix finally equalised with a deflected effort which left keeper Hayden Fryer with no chance. Extra time produced no further goals and the match finished 1-1 leaving the place in the final to be decided by a penalty shoot-out. City scored their first three penalties with confident strikes from Roche, Drew and Smith but Phoenix also scored their first three to take the shoot-out to sudden death. Impey fired home for City before Fryer saved from Phoenix's captain to send City into the final.

The final saw City playing the CP Sheffield side that had beaten them so comfortably earlier in the day.

Roche came close to opening the scoring before Drew scored with a long range effort which took the Sheffield keeper by surprise. City protected their lead with heroic commitment and energy, repeatedly blocking Sheffield efforts and making tackle after tackle. Late in the game City won a corner. With one eye on protecting their lead City only sent Roche forward, whilst Sheffield defended with all seven of their players. Smith delivered a perfect corner for Roche who made it 2-0 at the second attempt.

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