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AFC Sudbury Academy sides lift two national cups on same day at Northampton Town and Accrington Stanley stadiums





AFC Sudbury CEO Patrick Bell has hailed the efforts of players and staff to land the club a ‘momentous double achievement' as both their academy’s Boys and Girls’ sections lifted national cups on the same evening.

While the Girls’ Under-21s side retained the National Football League Cup in Northampton, Last Wednesday will go down in the history books as the first national title won by the Boys’ section since the academy was launched in July 2015.

The Craig Power-managed under-19s team beat Thomas Telford School 3-0 in the England College FA Men’s Knockout Trophy Final at Accrington Stanley’s Wham Stadium.

AFC Sudbury Academy Boys and Girls’ sections both celebrated lifting national trophies on the same day Pictures: AFC
AFC Sudbury Academy Boys and Girls’ sections both celebrated lifting national trophies on the same day Pictures: AFC

Jamie Bennett fired them ahead from the edge of the box just before the half-hour mark before Bobby Rea met a cross at the back post to double their advantage on 34.

The outcome was put beyond doubt 15 minutes from time when Liam Pearce got on the end of a brilliant cross to add a third.

It came after the side had won a nine-goal thriller 5-4 at Future Pro Club Coventry in the quarter-finals before seeing off hosting Beat Park View of Durham 4-2 in the semi-finals as they racked up the miles.

AFC Sudbury Girls celebrate retaining the National Football Youth League Women's League Cup Final at Northampton Town FC Picture: AFC Sudbury
AFC Sudbury Girls celebrate retaining the National Football Youth League Women's League Cup Final at Northampton Town FC Picture: AFC Sudbury

The victory for the Boys on Wednesday came an hour after the David Cannon-managed U21 Girls side had successfully defended the Women's National Football League Cup with a 2-1 comeback win against Northampton Town at their Sixfields Stadium.

After trailing at the break, a Leonnie Bezant wonderstirke got them back on terms before substitute Yasmine Drake scored what proved to be the winner for a side which included eight members of the club’s FA Women’s National League squad.

It came after last year had seen them lift the same trophy against the same opponents at Queens Park Rangers’ Loftus Road by a 7-1 scoreline.

“We need to take a moment to reflect upon our academy’s momentous double achievement,” CEO Bell wrote in a post on the club’s website.

Liam Pearce celebrates scoring the third goal in AFC Sudbury Academy's 3-0 victory against Thomas Telford in the England College's FA Men's Knockout Trophy at Accrington Stanley FC Picture: Steve Screech/AFC Sudbury
Liam Pearce celebrates scoring the third goal in AFC Sudbury Academy's 3-0 victory against Thomas Telford in the England College's FA Men's Knockout Trophy at Accrington Stanley FC Picture: Steve Screech/AFC Sudbury

“In short, both our Boys and Girls Academy representative teams won two England FA College Cup finals.

“Teams from Land’s End to Hadrian’s Wall and from the east coast to the Welsh border entered this at the start of this season, and one club, our club, took the spoils.”

He went on to add: “My heartfelt congratulations to all our talented, vibrant students who work so hard here at the AFC Sudbury Academy centre of excellence every day, and to the exceptional, hard-working teaching, coaching and support staff who make magical, life-affirming days like yesterday happen.

“Thanks also to our colleagues at SCL who provide consistent support for our academy’s teaching, learning and enrichment programme. The future is bright. Bright yellow.”

He also thanked academy graduate Liam Bennett, who won the Cambridge United Supporters Player of the Year this season, for travelling up to Accrington to support his old team.