Ark William Parker Academy is celebrating after their Year 7 football team were crowned Sussex County Champions. The team beat Durrington School (Worthing) in the final, played at Lancing F.C.
The Team had already overcome challenges from Hove Park, The Regis School, Blatchington Mill, Dorothy Stringer and Warden Park prior to facing Durrington.
Captain Benn Ward led the team out under floodlights on the excellent 3G surface. Parker dominated the game against tough opponents who tried gamely to play to their strengths, a quick, strong and tall forward. He was excellently marshalled by Freddie Legg and Spencer Winters. This, with Joe Skinner protecting the defence, formed a solid basis for many Parker attack, Alfie Peacock ran his socks off as he played up front alone in a 3-4-1 formation. After several chances, Benn Ward scored a trademark goal, breaking into the box to unleash a powerful shot into the bottom corner of the goal. At half time Parker went in one nil to the good.
Durrington started the second half determined to play long balls forward to their striker, but Jamal Palmer intercepted many of these passes and kept Durrington at arm’s length, guarding goalkeeper Cody Craddock. Ward was orchestrating play from midfield. One of his excellent forward passes found the impressive Nathan Corke who unleashed an unstoppable shot which hit both the far post and the near post before crossing the line, this gave Parker the cushion their nerves needed. Durrington did manage a late consolation despite Legg’s best efforts on the goal line. Other unnamed members of the Team were; Jamal Lubanga, Harvey Mapstone, Luke Warren, Ollie Hull and Joe Stanley.
Benn Ward, who was thrilled to be awarded Man of the Match, said “There was a really great atmosphere at the match. We are the Champions!”
Ollie Hull and Cody Craddock said, “We felt happy and proud of the whole team and how far we have come.”
Alfie Peacock said, “I felt like a professional footballer walking onto the pitch” and Harvey Mapstone said, “It made me feel good because all the parents were cheering.”
Coach Jimmy Elford said, "Organisers and staff were impressed with the way the team played together; they played for each other and not for themselves; as a team they worked really hard and supported each other to achieve a fantastic result. This is the sign of things to come in a very exciting future for sport at Ark William Parker Academy."