Youth football match of the week: Thornton Cleveleys U14 Whites v Kirkham Juniors
Thornton Cleveleys Under-14 Whites are celebrating an outstanding first phase in their Poulton and District Primary League campaign.
Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Kirkham at Burn Naze meant the Whites completed their seven-game Championship programme as unbeaten league winners.
Having drawn their opening game 4-4 with Blackpool Rangers Tangerines, Thornton have won all six matches.
They will compete in the Premier League when league action resumes after the group stages of the Coulton Cup competitions.
That draw with the Tangerines was Thornton’s first competitive game of 11-a-side football and their subsequent success shows how quickly Roger Sackfield’s side have adapted.
However, they didn’t have everything their own way against a determined Kirkham side, who hit back from two goals down to set up an exciting finish.
Joe Booth opened the scoring with his first goal of the season, a fine strike into the bottom corner.
But Kirkham were on level terms by half-time after a fine strike by their man of the match James Houghton.
Two Max Lewis goals gave Thornton a 3-1 cushion in the second half.
The central midfielder is a deadly finisher from the edge of the box and these were two more quality strikes.
But credit to Kirkham for standing strong, scoring a second goal and setting up a tense last seven minutes.
It was an excellent goal too, Marshal Porter chesting the ball down before finishing superbly on the turn.
But Thornton held firm and are celebrating successive titles, having also won their final competition as an under-nine side last season.
Given the season Thornton have had, manager Sackfield thought it fitting to award the man of the match to his whole squad, including Josh Gardner who was unable to play in this game due to injury.
He said: “Kirkham are a strong side but our team is having a really good season.”
Kirkham finished fifth in the table and team boss Johnny Hodgson said: “We were missing a few players but gave them a good game.
“We only have a small squad and have had to use players out of position, so we’ve done well to finish so high.”
They will continue in the Championship when the league matches resume.