Moorland in national final

Hat-trick hero Joe Grayson celebrates after helping Moorland into the final of the Independent Schools' Football Association Under 16 Shield
Hat-trick hero Joe Grayson celebrates after helping Moorland into the final of the Independent Schools' Football Association Under 16 Shield

Golden eye Joe Grayson is the toast of Moorland after his sensational hat trick fired the Clitheroe school into the final of a nationwide tournament.

Grayson, the son of Preston North End manager Simon, has scored in every round of the competition this season, and Grayson junior eased Moorland into the final of the Independent Schools’ Football Association Under 16 Shield with another junior master class.

The Moorland players were well prepared by coach Charlie Jackson, with the team travelling to their Cambridgeshire base the day before.

But it was Grayson who led from the front as Moorland produced another brilliant away day performance to book their first final appearance in the competition against Surrey-based King Edward’s School Witley.

With so much at stake, the tie was nip and tuck in the opening exchanges but, typically, it was Grayson who provided the vital breakthrough as Moorland forged ahead shortly before half-time.

Grayson struck again, this time his goal double early in the second half looking to have made the tie safe for Moorland.

However, Kimbolton’s star man Matt Greenland reduced the deficit, scoring twice, and Moorland’s defenders had to work hard to keep the opposition at bay before the Clitheroe school could celebrate their well deserved success.

Grayson, who scored twice in Moorland’s quarter-final tie against Blackburn Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School said, “I’m just so proud that Moorland are in the final.

“It is an incredible honour to be playing in a national final, and hopefully we can go on to win it.”

Grayson, a rising star with Blackburn Rovers Academy, is also the leading scorer in the competition this season.

The 15-year-old prospect added: “My dream is to play professionally, so it is great to get some advice from my dad.

“He is a very calm man, with a great deal of football knowledge. I certainly enjoy going to see the games at Preston whenever I can and trying to learn as much as possible.

“I usually play in midfield or at centre back for Blackburn, so I don’t get the opportunity to play up front very often, so I’ve really enjoyed the role.”

Proud Moorland Headteacher Jonathan Harrison said: “The whole of Moorland School is incredibly proud of their achievements and it is great recognition for the talent we have at Moorland that they are through to a nationwide final.”