County side are spot on

The Northumberland Schools U16 team celebrate winning the Northern Counties final.
The Northumberland Schools U16 team celebrate winning the Northern Counties final.
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Northumberland SFA U16 2 Lancashire SFA U16 2 (Northumberland win 5-4 on penalties) Northern Counties U16 Final

THE Northumberland Schools FA U16 side held their nerve to win the final at Burnley FC’s Turf Moor stadium on spot-kicks.

On a wet night but perfect playing surface, Northumberland took the lead in the first minute with a well-taken header from Luke James after Curtis Coppen had flicked on a free-kick from Sean McRoberts.

Lancashire soon equalised from a penalty, but Northumberland restored their advantage with a superb finish from Jamie Lockhead of Ponteland High School when he raced clear and despatched a half-volley into the top corner.

The frantic start continued when Lancashire make it 2-2 after 20 minutes with a good cross from the left and a well-taken header.

With several chances spurned at either end and players beginning to tire, the game went into extra-time.

The two teams could not be separated in the following 30 minutes and so a penalty shoot-out would decide the outcome of the final.

Northumberland scored all of their five spot-kicks through James, Lockhead, McRoberts, Callum Ross and Jack Errington.

With the shoot-out score 5-4, Billy Mack proved to be the Northumberland hero, diving low to his left to keep out Lancashire’s final penalty superbly.

Northumberland squad: Liam Blair (Ponteland), Alex Nelson (Whitley Bay), Lewis Davison (Blyth), Jack Errington (Benfield), Lee Brown (All Saints), Curtis Coppen (Cramlington), Sean McRoberts (Seaton Burn), Chris Bell (Churchill), Jamie Lockhead (Ponteland), Adam Garrity (All Saints), Luke James (Coquet), Dan Brown (Ponteland), Matty Robinson (Gosforth), Billy Mack (Gosforth), Callum Ross (St Thomas More), Matty Turner (Ponteland), Ryan Taylor (Whitley Bay), Sean Cox (St Thomas More).