By Joe Perkins

Unbeaten Yardley clinch consecutive Y5 title; valiant Short Heath lose out in final; Rosary and Highfield fall short in dramatic semi-finals.

Yardley successfully defended their Year 5 6-a-side trophy on Wednesday after another thrilling evening’s football at Power League, Yardley. The Youths defeated a spirited Short Heath side, 5-2 in the final and to emphasize their stranglehold on this tournament, they won every single game, from qualifying to its finale.
With Parkfield unable to attend, seven teams, all having come through qualifying last week, vied for the title in two keenly contested groups.
Group A saw Audley, Highfield and Yardley compete for two semi-final spaces. Yardley topped the group having won both of their games with Highfield in second courtesy of their 2-0 win over the Glebesiders.
In Group B it went down to goal difference between Short Heath and Rosary: each had two wins over Blakenhale and St Bernadette’s and in their own battle, drew 2 apiece. The Heathens +2 better goal difference saw them top the group. Blakenhale, superb in qualifying last week, largely disappointed and were denied a solitary win as they were held 3-3 by St Bernadette’s.
The semi-finals then pitched Rosary with Yardley and Highfield with Short Heath. Rosary, competing and giving as good as they got, took the lead but an opportunist strike, swiftly followed by a stupendous one, clinched victory for the Youths.
Meanwhile in the other semi-final a battle royal was taking place. Highfield, playing with strength and purpose, led the Heathens 2-1 but Short Heath’s resilience is hard to match, and they drew level forcing 3 minutes of extra time. Both teams scored again to leave a 3-3 score-line which meant a penalty shoot-out was required to find a winner. Highfields first two penalties both hit the post, but Short Heath were more clinical and won the shoot-out 2-0 to venture into the final.
The final itself was not short of drama but the Youths kept the Heathens at arm’s length and though Short Heath never gave up, Yardley were never in any danger of relinquishing their crown. The 5-2 score-line might have flattered the Youths, but they deserved winners nonetheless.

Where next?

P&P ESPSFA CUP KINGS! Black'n'whites atone for last year's cup heartbreak; Bernie's falter at final hurdle.
Hale Thunder to Y5 Finals! Blakenhale cruise through; Highfield and Rosary pip Lea Forest; Parkfield also qualify.

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