Three dramatic added time goals led the JMA Year 11 boys to cup final victory in the Reading Schools Final! 1-0 down after 20 minutes, the boys dominated the first half but only found an equaliser 2 minutes into added time through Captain Luke Hawkins-Maze which was the last action of the half.
Elite coach, Michael Butcher and PE/Coach apprentice Ben Cook offered some support at half time but it was the words of Mr Bale that proved vital. He challenged the boys to score early in the 2nd half, so they did….
From kick off Hawkins-Maze played a long ball which was hunted down by T-Rae Youngman and slotted into the corner for 2-1. Denefield were spirited though and soon equalised with a well worked goal. JMA continued to dominate and re-took the lead as Youngman raced through to score but again Denefield responded and levelled with 10 minutes on the clock. At this point the very impressive Hawkins-Maze, who must have ran a marathon during the game, came off with cramp and thus spurred Denefield on who managed to get themselves in front with 5 minutes left, 3-4.
JMA had shown great character and resilience throughout and pushed forward in the remaining minutes. As we entered added time we saw corners and free kicks cleared and in the 2nd minute of added time Eden Downes found time and space 6 yards out only to see his effort block. Then all bounced around the area until the Denefield keeper tipped the ball onto the crossbar only for Downes to be the hero and slam home from a yard out!!!
The boys regrouped and filled with confidence pushed for the win in extra time. With the game still at 4-4 with a minute to go, Captain Hawkins-Maze returned to the pitch to be able to take a penalty…. only to find himself through on goal in the 1st minute of injury time and expertly lifted the ball over the advancing keeper into the net to prevent a penalty shootout, spark wild celebrations and almost crown JMA champions. In the dying seconds Denefield pressed for another equaliser but were stopped by keeper Louis Green who tipped on to the bar and a goal line clearance from Haseeb Ali……. JMA were CHAMPIONS!