Priory are pitch perfect

The triumphant Priory under-13 team celebrate their Hampshire Cup final victory over Salesian College at Fratton Park
The triumphant Priory under-13 team celebrate their Hampshire Cup final victory over Salesian College at Fratton Park
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There’s just no stopping perfect Priory.

The Southsea school’s under-13 football team clinched a memorable treble on Saturday as they beat Farnborough’s Salesian College 2-0 in the Hampshire Cup final at Fratton Park.

Goals from Tommy Leigh and captain Harvey Tanner saw Priory add the county crown to the Portsmouth Schools’ League title and Portsmouth Cup they won earlier in the season.

What makes the youngsters feat all the more remarkable is that it’s the second year on the trot this Priory team have lifted all three trophies.

And, on top of that, they have not lost a match now for two years.

The team’s proud boss and PE teacher, Matt Graham, said: ‘I’ve been told Priory have never had a side that have done the treble two years in a row so these boys have made history, which is lovely. It’s why it means so much to them.

‘They are a great bunch of lads. I couldn’t ask any more of them. They’ve left everything on the pitch for me, bless them.

‘I love them to death. They’ve not lost in two years. That’s the motivation that keeps them going.

‘They’re a competitive bunch but I’m a competitive manager so, hand in hand, we go quite well together.’

In a close tussle, Priory’s attacking quality proved the difference in the end.

Decked out in Pompey’s colours, they took a 15th-minute lead when Leigh whipped in a free-kick from 30 yards out which beat everyone in the area and flew over keeper Joshua Lane’s head and into the net.

Priory should have doubled their advantage just before the half-hour mark when striker Lenny Cole did well to beat his marker but, having done all the hard work, he screwed his low shot the wrong side of the post.

Salesian College stepped up a gear after the break but were denied by the safe hands of Harry Madgwick – the Priory keeper’s best save coming on 55 minutes when he tipped Thomas Barnett’s effort over the bar.

Priory always looked a threat going forward, with the lively Pascal Link and Leigh impressing in midfield to feed the dangerous strike duo of Cole and Jack Chandler.

With their defence looking composed throughout, though, it was fitting that the crucial second came from centre-back – and man-of-the-match – Tanner in the final minute as he rose highest to nod home Leigh’s corner and hand Priory yet another piece of silverware.

Priory: Harry Madgwick, Dylan Fletcher (Toby Phillips),

Toby Dorn (Dan Singleton), Harry Gadd, Harvey Tanner (captain), Billy Musson, Joe Tappenden (Tom Bobik), Tommy Leigh,

Lenny Cole, Jack Chandler, Pascal Link