North Leigh youngsters suffer late heartbreak in National League Cup final

·1-min read
North Leigh lost 3-2 to Gateshead in their Academy Cup Final. Picture courtesy of Laurence Ryan
North Leigh lost 3-2 to Gateshead in their Academy Cup Final. Picture courtesy of Laurence Ryan

North Leigh manager Craig Adey focused on the positives after his young side lost to Gateshead in the National League Academy Cup Final.

The Millers led 2-0 at half-time at Worcester Warriors’ Sixways Stadium, but conceded three after the break to fall to a 3-2 defeat.

It was their first loss of an otherwise flawless season, having dropped just four points on the way to winning National League Under 19 Alliance Division D.

“The major positive is we’re a small village team competing in a national final,” Adey said.

“We’ve got a talented 20 to 25 players in that changing room.”

Josh Hedges put North Leigh ahead with his 42nd goal of the season midway through the first half, before Connor Barrett extended the lead from the penalty spot nine minutes later.

But Gateshead fought back and Eddie Thomas broke Millers hearts with the winner in the dying embers of the game, with Adey admitting both teams felt the nerves.

“It got a bit ‘squeaky bum time’ at the end and we didn’t hold out,” he said.

“We should have had the game sewn up after 60 minutes, but we couldn’t take our chances.

“Both teams were a bit edgy, but they’ve won the game.”

North Leigh travel to Eastleigh’s Silverlake Stadium for another big cup tie a week on Thursday.

Adey said: “We’ll pick up and we’ll be back training again in preparation for another hectic week.”

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