9:20am Friday 20th May 2011
By Kieren Bushnell
MID Oxon suffered extra-time heartbreak as their bid to land the ESFA Under 15 Trophy ended in a 2-1 defeat against Dacorum (Herts) in the final at the Kassam Stadium on Thursday night.
But while they will look back on a number of missed opportunities that would have given them the trophy, they should instead reflect on a sensational campaign which saw them reach the final for the first time in their 55-year history.
It was a double from Kai Lewis that broke Mid Oxon hearts, the winner coming six minutes from the end of extra time.
Mid Oxon, cheered on by nearly all of the 1,132 crowd, made all the running in the first half and led at half-time thanks to Jacob Hughes’s strike.
But Lewis levelled on the hour and then broke Mid Oxon hearts with his late, late extra-time winner.
Hughes went close to breaking the deadlock early on, drilling an effort just wide of the far post.
Moments later, from his pinpoint cross, Harry Cornforth, lashed an effort wide.
Mid Oxon’s Ryan Heap had the ball in the back of the net in the 23rd minute, only to be ruled offside.
Sam Humphreys had a point-blank effort cleared off the line seconds after, but the opening goal did not take long to arrive.
Powerfully winning a challenge just outside the centre circle, Hughes latched onto the loose ball unchallenged, before holding his nerve to slot underneath Lewis Wiseman.
Mid Oxon fully deserved their interval lead.
The second period proved a more even affair, but it was to be missed chances that proved the hosts’ downfall.
Yassin Elouahabi’s lob went inches over, before Wiseman was quickly off his line to deny the striker moments later.
And it was to prove a key save as from a counter-attack, Dacorum levelled.
A long clearance from defence fell to Lewis, and he clipped the ball past the advancing Owen Churchill.
As both sides tired, it was little surprise the match went to extra time.
In the first period, defender Dom Hyam came to Mid Oxon’s rescue with a superbly-timed tackle to stop Danny Warwick.
And after the break it was Dacorum keeper Wiseman who saved his side, bravely diving at the feet of Elouahabi.
With penalties looming, Mid Oxon’s dreams were shattered.
A pinpoint cross from the Warwick picked out Lewis, who headed home via the bar to win the match.
Mid Oxon: Churchill, Turner, Lathey, Robbins, Linford-Pill, Hyam, Humphreys, Cornforth, Mazur, Botcherby, Hughes. Subs (all used): Heap, Elouahabi, Keppie, Dale, Lewis.
Referee: J Busby (Oxford).
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