Ribblesdale set for a final fling

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RIBBLESDALE High School face the biggest game in their history after the Under-15s reached the final of the English Schools’ FA Cup.

After knocking out highly-fancied RSA Academy from West Bromwich in the last eight, they continued their outstanding run by disposing of last year’s finalists Wright Robinson from Manchester in the semi-final played at Stalybridge Celtic.

The Manchester team included Manchester City’s England Under-16s player Kean Bryan in their side and they started brightly.

But the Ribblesdale boys had the first attempt on goal after Dominic Telford’s pace caused problems down the left wing.

Patrick Fordham and Tom Jackson tackled fiercely, and Josh Pomfret tipped a rasping drive on to the bar.

Bryan was meanwhile becoming frustrated by the resolute Ribblesdale defence, well marshalled by Luke Wilde and Andrew Tomlinson, and that ensured the first half finished goalless.

The second half was a cagey affair and extra-time loomed on the horizon.

Then Telford’s left-footed volley hit the bar, which spurred the Valley lads on even more.

And when Alister Lofthouse threaded a neat pass through, Telford was on to it in a flash and calmly slotted the ball home.

Then a couple of minutes later, Telford collected the ball on the halfway line, turned his man and unleashed a magnificent left-foot strike which sailed into the top corner of the net.

Wright Robinson were thrown a lifeline when Bryan showed his class by firing in a free-kick.

But it proved too little, too late for the Manchester side, leaving the Ribblesdale contingent jubilant.

The final, on Monday, May 14th, will be against the Oasis Academy from Croydon at Derby County’s Pride Park.