Cardinal Heenan are Echo Cup Winners!
Cardinal Heenan won the 61st Echo Cup at Goodison Park on Sunday after the Year 9 team held their nerve through a tense penalty shoot-out.
The final, which pitted the Liverpool Cup winners against the Merseyside Cup winners, Range High from Formby, was a tight affair, with the teams tied at 1-1 after extra time.
Although Cardinal Heenan's first penalty came back off the crossbar, they were back level when Range's second penalty went wide. With the next four Heenan penalties all finding the back of the net, it came down to Range's fifth and final penalty, which was blazed over.
Team manager Mr Rachi said: "The whole squad and I are really proud to carry on Heenan's fine tradition in the Echo Cup and add our name to the trophy again. On the day, it was a really tight game and huge credit has to go Range who more then played their part. We won the quarters, semi's and now the final on penalties so some years your name must be on the trophy. I was really pleased with the attitude and effort, as well as the performance, of every member of the squad yesterday and it was a victory they worked extremely hard for."
Cardinal Heenan got off to the worst possible start when a bouncing ball caused havoc in the area and was prodded home to give Range High the lead after just 29 seconds.
It took a few minutes to settle before Shernick Grove tested the Range goalkeeper with a shot from distance then he turned provider with a good cross which was headed over by Luke Burgess.
It was a tight first half and Cardinal Heenan were slowly taking control but Range remained dangerous and it took a good save at the feet of the Range centre-forward to keep the deficit down to one.
That save became crucial when Cardinal Heenan equalised a minute later, Tom Grivosti slotting home a penalty after he had been fouled just inside the area.
The rest of the half was all Cardinal Heenan, with Sean Wilson and Shernick Grove having shots just off target and Callum Lucy had a long-range free-kick saved at the second attempt.
In a game of few clear-cut chances, Cardinal Heenan had the best opportunities of the second half, with the post coming to Range's rescue after more good work by Grove had seen his cross deflected goalwards, while Lewis Reilly had a great effort turned over the bar.
Extra time saw a shift with Range's forwards causing trouble but Michael Hall kept them at bay with his fingertips and feet, before the penalty shoot-out sparked the celebrations.
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