Warrington Town are the new champions of the NPL Football Academy after another thrilling Grand Final at Leek Town FC’s Harrison Park on Friday evening.
The two winners of the divisions – Warrington (Joma Division) and Matlock Town (Chryso Division) put on a great show to determine who would lift the ‘Jordan Burndred Memorial Trophy’ and become overall champions of the 2017-18 season.
After a cagey opening, it was the Derbyshire side who took a first half advantage when Josh Devereux’s long free kick was bundled in, much to the delight of his side despite the Yellow’s protest for a foul on goalkeeper Josh Wainwright.
Shortly after the break, the game exploded in the space of sixty seconds. NPLFA ‘Player of the Year’ Aron McGrath got the Cheshire side back on level terms with a smart finish and then immediately from the re start, Liam Carrington played a long ball to Lucas Brough who did well to beat his man and square it back to Carrington who went down from the challenge of Alex Jones and won his side a penalty. Josh Devereux stepped up and put the Gladiators back in the lead.
It was late drama once again in the Grand Final and McGrath equalised for the second time in the game, this time in the 87th minute, a superb passing move that started with Wainwright from the back and ended with the silky midfielder finishing with a close finish.
With the game looking like it would be decided on penalties, Warrington had one more chance in the 96th minute. Wainwright took a free kick inside Matlock’s half, Danny Hamlett won the header and the ball fell to Bobbie Mcdonnell who turned and struck the winning goal past Alfie Smith-Eccles to spark wild celebrations from the students.
Jordan Burndred’s family were present on the evening and presented his memorial trophy to the Cheshire side who break the three year winning run of Mickleover Sports in dramatic fashion. A total of £200 was raised on the evening with all proceeds going to JORDAN’S MEMORIAL FUND.