MFA have won their first ever trophy after winning the U18 Macclesfield and Districts Schools Cup in an evenly fought battle with Wilmslow High School.
The game started off to a great tempo with both teams having chances in the first 5 minutes but it was MFA who took the lead through Sam Box’s lobbed effort after being played through by Sam Jordan, however, Wilmslow immediately levelled 40 seconds after the restart through their number 9, Ben Elliott after some good wing play from George Barker.
Wilmslow then became on top of the tie and continued to pressurise the back 4 and goalkeeper Joe Haigh, on 20 minutes, MFA made a triple sub with Rocco Fregapane, Charles Chilufya and Luke Boyle entering the affray. This looked as if it settled MFA down who then started getting further up the pitch towards the end of the half, on 44 minutes James Chadwick was fouled down the right hand side and captain Colin Midgley delivered a delightful ball into the box and the smallest man on the pitch Luke Boyle outleaped the Wilmslow defence to head back across goal into the far corner of the net. 2-1 MFA at Half Time!
MFA knew that Wilmslow would come firing out the blocks second half and after 54 seconds of the restart they were level. A through ball from Ben Mail split the MFA defence in two and George Barker rounded Joe Haigh and composed himself to level. 2-2 with still 44 minutes left.
MFA were resilient to the threats that Wilmslow poised and defended very well, 15 minutes later, MFA were rewarded for their resilience – a free kick from Alfie Tyldsley was handled in the box by Ben Mail – Sam Box stepped up to take the penalty and despite Wilmslow goalkeeper Yves Jones getting a touch, the ball squeezed in. 3-2!
The game then opened up a lot more and both teams were getting at each other, Wilmslow’s Will Watts trying his luck from 35 yards from a free kick but the ball sailed over and then another effort a few minutes later that dragged wide. Then MFA began a quick counter attack and when Sam Box ran into the box and was pushed blatantly in the bag by Tadiwa Dzvoti, the referee waved away the claims to the confusion of the players – however the linesman stepped in and the referee reversed his decision. A goal with 5 minutes to go would surely put the game to bed. Sam Box stepped up again, and went the same way. This time a great hand from Yves Jones denied Box. Still 3-2.
Wilmslow then through the proverbial kitchen sink at it and were pushing for the equaliser. Two very good chances fell to Elliott and Dzvoti in the box but their efforts went just over, maybe just maybe MFA were going to win their very first trophy. Then, with about 30 seconds remains, with Sam Box down with a head injury – Wilmslow were sent through clean on goal and with Joe Holt racing through the referee stopped play for the head injury. Controversial but the right decision.
Once the drop ball had finished, the referee blew his whistle and MFA had won a trophy for the first time since Director Paul McGuire set the academy, in partnership with All Hallows’ Sixth Form, was set up.
Manager Kyle Lord said: “I am incredibly proud of the players today who showed true character to dig in deep and perform the way they did. In very tough weather conditions they continued to work hard for one another and they got what the deserved at the end”.