The faintest of margins separated the finalists of this year’s Inner London County Schools seven-a-side Football Tournament, with Lewisham edging victory over Bermondsey & Rotherhithe in extra time.
The tournament, also known as the Tower Hamlet’s Cup, took place last week at the Marathon Sports Ground in Charlton. The teams consisted of the finest under-11 players from inner London boroughs.
Lewisham – last year’s national winners – dominated the early stages of the competition, coming top of their qualifying group, whilst Bermondsey & Rotherhithe came second.
A close game
But in the final of the competition Bermondsey more than matched Lewisham. The game remained goalless throughout regular time and Bermondsey almost went away with the trophy when a last minute effort from Luke Elkin, of Redriff Primary School, Southwark, rebounded off the crossbar.
Eventually, however, Lewisham were victorious, clinching the win via a goalmouth scramble in extra time.
“Becoming county runners up is no mean feat”
Hugh Chambers, Secretary of the Lewisham Primary Schools Football Association, said: “We’re very proud of the boys. We only had nine players in the squad and two of them got injured in the group stages. They did an excellent job.”
Bob James, Honourary Secretary of the Bermondsey & Rotherhithe Primary Schools Football Association said although he was “disappointed to have lost a very close game” he was “very pleased with his players”.
Whilst Lewisham can boast professional academy players, including two at Crystal Palace, one at Fulham and one at Millwall, Bermondsey has no players at any professional clubs.
James said: “we’re a very small district and can choose players from far fewer primary schools than Lewisham. The Lewisham team were very good and they edged it but I’m proud of my boys. Becoming county runners up is no mean feat.”