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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Goalkeeper takes the honours in Wark’s shootout victory

THE future of football in Tynedale is in safe hands if Saturday’s enthralling West Division U10 Cup showdown is anything to go by.

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Wark lifted the West Division Under 10 cup after defeating Hexham Greens.

Finalists Wark and Hexham Greens showed the huge potential of the district as they played their part in an end-to-end spectacle, the North Tynies edging the penalty shootout 3-2 to lift the trophy.

The attacking talent on show throughout both sides saw the lead change hands time and again, the two Tynedale Mini Soccer teams level at 2-2 at full-time, then 3-3 after extra time.

Despite the high level of outfield talent, it was Wark goalkeeper Niall Buchanan who was named man of the match for a string of excellent saves, including a remarkable double block to keep his side in the tie late on.

He even proved himself capable from the spot, sending home an effort in the shootout along with successful conversions from teammates Brandon Bland and captain Kareem Turnbull.

It was enough to earn Wark the trophy with only Will Burns and Alex Waters finding the back of the net for Hexham.

Buchanan showed his class in goal in the opening two minutes, bravely diving at the feet of Adam Newton to deny him a free shot on goal following Matt Kilby’s low cross.

As was the case all game, the play switched back and forth with Wark coming close to finding the lead courtesy of a goalmouth scramble, Hexham’s Harry Caldwell on hand to clear the danger.

Within seconds, his side had broken the deadlock as Phillipe King-Lewis was the first to get his name on the scoresheet when he powered an excellent effort on goal from range.

At the other end, Wark’s hotshot of a striker Dan Turner showed instinctiveness to turn and fire a shot away on goal, but Greens goalie Finlay Moreton got behind the effort.

Kilby then tried to drive Hexham on and danced his way through three tackles but watched agonisingly as his shot bounced off the outside of the post and behind for a goal kick.

Wark came back into it but Toby Ferguson did well to tap a ball from another scramble behind for a corner, while tricky midfielder Alfie Feeley had an attempt kept out by Moreton.

King-Lewis came close again as he tested Buchanan, while red hot Burns nearly had a wonder goal to his name when he jinked his way upfield after collecting a goal kick. Once again, Buchanan came to the fore.

The following from Wark then went crazy when Turner turned in a long ball from Jack McNeill, only to turn a different kind of crazy when referee Kevin Mooney pulled play back to award a penalty for handball in the build-up.

They were further incensed as Turner sent his kick well wide of the target.

But Wark were on level terms within a minute, Bland showing good control to divert Oliver Scott’s corner kick.

The momentum was with the North Tyne side and they gained the upper hand seven minutes later, Turner showing why he is hot property by sending the ball past Moreton with clinical ease.

But just as Wark were getting ready to celebrate the victory, they were dealt a blow when they conceded in the most cruel of manners.

With two minutes to go, Kilby’s fizzed cross deflected off both Scott and Kareem Turnbull before sneaking into his own net at the front post.

Buoyed by the slice of fortune, Hexham sensed victory but Buchanan impressed all in attendance as he parried Newton’s well drilled strike before showing great reactions to smother the rebound from Daniel Simpson.

It was Hexham who drew first blood in extra time, the ball falling at the feet of Kilby after Newton’s purposeful run. Kilby found the goal his hard work deserved by slotting the ball into the far corner.

Moments later, Newton fired a ferocious free kick from range on goal but could not believe the reactions of Wark’s custodian who punched the effort over his crossbar.

The game was taken to extra time when Bland again proved a menace in the opposition area, this time heading home Scott’s pinpoint delivery for 3-3.

The game went into penalties, and it was Wark who were hailed as champions as they edged what was another close-run affair between two classy teams.

The promise at the team is such that it is likely to stay together at U11 level to give the village its first team above U10 for many years.

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