Our Youth Academy U16s became the first team in the history of the JPL Cup to retain the competition, as they beat Leighton Town in the 2018/19 final.
The now U16s, reached the final off the back of their exploits in the previous campaign, which therefore meant they were actually challenging for the U15s title. The pandemic had put a delay on their final date, but the Ravens eventually got their chance to retain the trophy at Gloucester City’s Meadow Park stadium back in April.
U16s coach Matt Griffiths provides the following summary from the match;
Bromley started the game strongly, being the more dominant side in possession in the first twenty minutes. Bromley had a chance to take the lead when Street rounded the keeper but, after being forced wide and losing the angle, he could only fire into the side netting.
Bromley created a few chances from wide areas with Mills and Hudson-Broadway looking threatening out wide but a solid Leighton Town defence kept Bromley out. Bromley also went close when Rye struck a very well executed freekick just wide of the post. A strong backline in Addotey, Hvid, German and Bower supported with Beqiri’s and Tofan’s work rate to regain possession in the middle, third meant Arnold was not troubled for the first twenty minutes.
However, it was Leighton that took the lead after creating an overload out wide cutting the ball back across the box, leaving the Leighton Town player to pass the ball calmly into the net from 8 yards. After conceding, Bromley became a little forceful in possession, but Corbin did force the keeper into a good save down to his right after a good effort from 18 yards. The half time interval was very much welcomed to help gain back the composure within the squad.
A slight change of shape helped Bromley become more dominant in the final third from the start of the second half. Ten-minutes in Bromley had thought they had equalised when the ball was cut back and finished comfortably by Street after some good work down the right, however the goal was disallowed for the ball being out of play. The creativeness from Tofan, Corbin, Rye and Hammond was instrumental in Bromley creating more chances throughout the second half with Appleby having a shot blocked from 16 yards, after beating the first defender, and Rye also going close when he curled a left footed effort just wide from 25 yards.
Bromley got their deserved equaliser when a corner kick fell to Lochner on the edge of the box after German had attacked the initial ball. Lochner jinked past two defenders in a tight space on the edge of the box to work his way into the penalty box to curl an outstanding finish into the far top corner.
The remaining twenty minutes was tense with both teams having spells of possession, with Leighton Town having a short spell of dominance after the equaliser having a couple of efforts from range forcing Bassom into making a good save down to his right, but again the centre back pairing in German and Jackson was strong and resilient and extremely hard to break down.
Bromley went on to get the winner after gaining a free-kick inside the opposition’s half after Rye was fouled when Bromley broke away on the counter. The free-kick was clipped in behind the defensive line, again German attacked the ball bravely against the onrushing goalkeeper resulting in the ball bouncing up off each other after both competing for the ball in the air leaving Lochner to head into an empty net four minutes from time.