Southern Counties Cup final beckons

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The Dacorum District U11 football side have made it through to the Southern Counties Cup final thanks to a 3-1 victory over Barking & Dagenham District in the semis.

The tournament has been running for 30 years, and this is the first year in which a Dacorum side has reached the final.

Joint managers Stuart Stedman and Luke Nicholls said: “We are very proud of the boys for reaching the final and now hope to bring some silverware back to Dacorum.”

The semi-final clash was Dacorum’s biggest game of the season so far, but they showed no nerves as they took an early lead.

Midfield dynamo Luke Beckwith made a crucial tackle in the middle of the field, then played a well-timed through-ball into centre-forward Ollie Burchnall.

Outnumbered by defenders, Burchnall held up the ball with his back to goal and executed a well-weighted pass into the path of winger Louis Collier, who rifled an unstoppable shot into the top corner to put Dacorum ahead.

The side continued to press after the goal and deservedly doubled the advantage shortly afterwards as Collier fired home his second of the game.

And it was not long before Dacorum added a third as Burchnall raced through on goal before slotting home to give his side a 3-0 half-time lead.

Barking and Dagenham pressed forward in the second half, and forced a breakthrough within five minutes of the restart to cut the Dacorum’s lead to two.

The Dacorum side were not about to throw away their chance of silverware, though, and held on well to book their place in the final.

Hertfordshire County Councillor for Hemel Hempstead South East, Mrs Jan Maddern, has been helping to fund the running of the team by allocating funds through her locality budget.

She was delighted with the win, saying: “What a fantastic game! We really do have some amazing talent in Dacorum.

“The boys play together as a really exciting, solid team.

“Even at such a young age they have a natural ability of anticipating where they should be, where the ball is going and what their team mates are thinking.

“Every player played his part perfectly. I can’t wait to see the final.”