Palmers College 3, Havering Sixth Form College 1 FOOTBALL: Palmers logged a convincing victory in the Under 19s Colleges second Trophy Final.

Palmer’s College Manager Stuart Munday believes his players have the potential to play at a higher level after they recorded the 3-1 victory over Havering Sixth Form College in the Under 19s 2nd XI Trophy final at Brentwood School, expressing pride at the spirit of his team who had to compete for the final 28 minutes with ten men.

Jack Dean, Reece Dye and Brad Catmore netted the goals to hand them victory in the county climax although they endured a shaky final few minutes as goalkeeper Tey Lynn Jones had to save a penalty to ensure Emmanuel Awuku’s 87th-minute reply later was merely a consolation. But their boss, who played over 100 times for Brighton & Hove Albion during his own professional career, thinks some of the squad can take their ability much further.

“We try and play a bit and look to get the ball wide and we’ve got a couple of quick forwards who tend to hurt teams,” explained Munday, whose unlucky team were defeated in a dramatic penalty shootout at last year’s final. “We’re really proud, not just of the way they play but their attitude, effort and commitment - everything you’re looking for from a school or college team. There are plenty of opportunities for them to play at a higher level.”

They asserted themselves on this game early and were ahead on 8 minutes. Play was worked to the left flank, then back inside to find the run of Dean and he got his head over the ball to send a left-footed half-volley across goal and inside the far post, just out of the reach of Havering goalkeeper Reece Powell. One could have been two just before the half-hour when Richard Holland beat Powell to a ball in his goalmouth but lobbed into the roof of the net.

They did grab a second on 33 minutes, however, as a move which started with Lynn Jones from deep inside their own half was developed down the right and finished off by an excellent Dye strike from 15 yards. Palmer’s were well on top by this stage and could nearly have taken a three-goal cushion into the interval though Catmore’s pass and Dean’s first-time cross cut back from the right into the danger zone was headed narrowly high of the target by Dye.

After half time the contest was much closer but Palmer’s missed opportunities when clean through as Dye got between defenders and forced a decent diving save out of ‘keeper Powell, who turned it round the post. Then Catmore knocked into the path of Dye who couldn’t quite nick the ball wide of the advancing Havering stopper.

Havering’s promise grew when Kris Looker was dismissed for two quick-fire cautions mid-way through the period and Lew Moore sliced wide in one of their rare attacks. Yet their numerical superiority meant little when Palmer’s notched their third in the 74th minute, this time Catmore breaching the back line and racing through to roll the ball under Powell into the net.

It was possibly too late to launch a fight back but Havering maintained their determination and mustered a late rally, beginning with a lengthy but off-balance effort from Awuku who spotted the Palmer’s ‘keeper off his line. Then a foul in the box earned them a chink of light from the penalty spot though Lynn Jones got down brilliantly to his left to deny Havering.

A ricochet off the body of Moore in front of goal brought another diving intervention from Lynn Jones and Havering finally got on the score sheet through Awuku three minutes from time from a few yards, helping a corner over the line. But by then Palmer’s were out of sight and Munday was relieved to have secured the colleges silverware at the second attempt.

He said: “When we went down to ten men that didn’t help – it was backs to the wall. I think the penalty changed it. If it had have gone in it would have made it very interesting towards the end but thankfully the defence were superb and it was a really good save by the ‘keeper. Once that went wide I think their heads went down a bit and it was in our hands then.”

Palmer’s College: Tey Lynn Jones, Richard Holland, Mambato Thole, Michael Salako, Steve Harland, Kris Looker, Aaron Ajibowo, Brad Catmore, Reece Dye, Jack Dean, George Whiter. Substitutes: Luke Nickels, Ryan Plom, Sean Tooms.

Havering Sixth Form College: Reece Powell, Harry Offord, William Semain, Daniel Alaka, Russell Downs, Paul Mangan, Emmanuel Awuku, Lew Moore, Tariq El-Hafidi, Aji Thompson, Vinesh Kurup. Substitutes: George Light, Nelson Adeoti, Samuel Webb, Tom Hobbough.