Army U23 Lift Inter Services
for the Army and Head Coach Capt Paul Dale (RADC) who was taking charge of his final match before leaving the Army. The Army entered the match in the knowledge that a draw or more versus the RAF would be sufficient for them to lift the trophy and two goals in three minutes early in the second half ensured a 1-1 draw despite a frantic finish to the match in Aldershot.
The visitors enjoyed the early exchanges of the encounter. Current Thetford Town defender and RAF captain Elliott Smith headed just wide whilst the lively Rhys Harbottle, currently with Tow Law Town, twice forced good saves from the alert LCpl Joe Gorman (RLC) in the Army goal. Harbottle, a ex Hartlepool youth player and former Exeter City Academy player Alan Woodcock were linking up well for the RAF. The Army sprung to life late on in the first half and Cfn Sean Thomson (RLC) produced a terrific effort from 20 yards that has Matt Cape in the RAF goal back tracking before managing to tip the ball over the bar with his fingertips. The RAF imposed more domination after the break and Michael Goddard came inches away from opening the scoring within a minute of the re-start. The goal eventually did come on 53 minutes when Ross Glibbery struck powerfully from 12 yards taking the ball into the far corner of the net with Gorman well beaten.
The Army responded four minutes later. An excellently flighted free kick from the left by captain LCpl Sean Woolley (RLC) was met by the head of Thomson who guided the ball over the keeper and into the net. The Army started to seize the initiative. LCpl Aiden Hackett (RLC) and Thomson both went close
The finale of the match was dramatic with the visitors desperate to force the issue to score the goal they needed to win the competition with the home side taking advantage on the break. Gorman produced an outstanding save on 84 minutes and a minute later LCpl Dan Tewkesbury (AAC) strode through the centre capitalising on a good advantage by Royal Navy Referee Andrew Glanille. Tewkesbury’s final low effort was excellently turned away by Cape. Woolley nearly sealed the match with a stunning 20 yard free kick that forced another articulate save from the former Morecambe Youth keeper. In a frantic final minute of injury time the visitors saw an effort cleared off the line from a corner as Cape had pushed forward. AS the ball was cleared Thomson battled his way through on the break and looked a certainty to seal the match with a last gasp victory before being hauled down by Goddard who was somewhat fortunate to escape with a yellow card.
In the post match ceremony Colonel Colin Francis praised the efforts of both teams and, in particular, the performances of the goalkeepers before the Army lifted the 2018 Inter Services Trophy outright for the ninth time in its 15 year history.
Photo: John Elliott (Oxhey Jets FC)
Army: LCpl Joe Gorman (RLC), LBdr Alex Fitzgerald (RA), Air Tpr Luke Shaddick (AAC), Gdsmn Thomas Kelly (Infantry), Gdsmn Jack Price (Infantry), LCpl Dan Tewkesbury (AAC), Cpl Darren Humphries (AGC RMP), AirTrpr Oliver Roberts (AAC), Cfn Sean Thomson (REME), Cfn Ryan Burrows (REME), LCpl Sean Woolley (RLC) Unused: LCpl Kieron Day (RLC) Subs: Lcpl Kieron Day (RLC), LCpl Rob Shaw (RLC), LCpl Aiden Hackett (RLC), Gdsmn Cameron McLendon (Infantry), Gdsmn Ryan Perry (infantry), Gnr Jason Barnes (RA), Tpr Kyle Johnson (AAC)