Penalty shoot-out pain for Grafton Primary pupils at Danone Nations Cup event
PUBLISHED: 11:30 06 March 2020
Grafton Primary boys suffered penalty shoot-out heartbreak in the county final of the Danone Nations Cup.
The borough champions won all four of their group games, plus their semi-final on penalties, only to lose out in the decider.
They started in fine fashion with a dominant 1-0 win over Colchester's Chappel C of E, before securing three more points with another 1-0 win against Quilters (Billericay).
A third win followed as they beat Greenways (Southend) by a 2-1 margin, meaning avoiding defeat in their final group match would see them go through.
The game against their much-fancied Brentwood Prep rivals didn't start too well as Grafton fell behind early.
However, they refused to lie down and quickly restored parity before taking control of the game and secured the win with a really well-worked team goal.
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Their 100 per cent record saw Grafton progress as group winners and set up a semi-final against Chase Lane (Harwich).
Both sides went into the game full of confidence but Grafton were on top throughout and only two stunning saves from the Chase Lane keeper stopped Grafton from winning in it in comfortable style.
Extra-time saw Grafton continue to dominate and once again they were denied by an unbelievable save as the game went to penalties,
George Miller's save from the first spot-kick was enough to send his side through to the final, where Grafton faced a rematch with Quilters, who had progressed as best runners-up and held their nerve in a shoot-out in their semi-final against Lee Chapel.
Grafton were much the better side, but were unable to find a way past some resolute defending meaning the game finished goalless.
Extra-time still couldn't separate the sides so the county title had to be decided by penalties.
And after five successful spot-kicks, Grafton missed their final penalty and had to settle for the runners-up spot, but despite the cruel end they could be very proud of their efforts and their remarkable performance.