Spalding Grammar School’s senior football team have reached the LB Cup final – a feat they have achieved only once before, back in 2011.
Back then, the team faced penalty shoot-out heartbreak to lose, having been 3-0 down in the match.
This year, the team are vowing to go one further and lift some silverware.
The semi-final saw another away trip, this time to Loughborough.
Having eliminated Spalding Grammar (SGS) twice in the past three years in this competition, there was an additional incentive to win the match.
SGS – for the first time this season – looked tense from the start, and with Loughborough pressing high, looked under pressure. However, they rode the early storm (one of many) and scored after 20 minutes from an unlikely source. Captain Sam East popped up to head the ball home after the keeper fumbled a Harrison Burrows cross.
A second spell of Loughborough pressure arrived, but the back three of Kieran Hamilton, James Stuffins and Harry Burchnall, plus Willis Ingleby in goal behind them, stood firm, repelling everything thrown at them to lead 1-0 at half time.
In the second half, a Loughborough free-kick saw an uncharacteristic mistake by Ingleby, allowing a striker to follow up to equalise.
Cue the third barrage of crosses, corners and free kicks, all of which were once again superbly dealt with – Ingleby atoning on a number of occasions with saves and claims.
As the game opened up, SGS changed shape to exploit the wide areas.
This paid off when Burrows picked out a 40-yard diagonal ball to full-back Burchnall, who rounded the keeper and slotted home.
A final wave of pressure came from Loughborough, before Alex Richardson sealed the game with five minutes to go, piling his way through three tackles and placing into the net.
The last kick of the game saw a fourth and final goal come from Burrows, following a sweeping diagonal from Callum Davies.
Teacher Dave Endersbee said: “An outstanding performance all round, the most pleasing aspect of which was the way we managed the game at particular points; good decisions were made when to play direct, when to retain possession and when to press.
“The defence were truly tested and superb today, and the work rate of all of the players was second to none.”
SGS: Ingleby, Hamilton, Stuffins, Burchnall, Waters, Richardson, East, Storey, Davies, Burrows, Bell. Subs: Manton, Scales.